Peanut Allergy: active versus reserve status

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by bill-dub-ya, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. bill-dub-ya

    bill-dub-ya New Member

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    Hello,

    My son had an AFROTC scholarship taken away due to a peanut allergy. He wrote letters to DoDMERB explaining that he has (accidentally) ingested peanuts and food cooked in peanut oil, without issues. Additionally, I wrote to local, state, and national politicians asking for their help. Long story short, the disqualification remained in place. My son would like to serve in the armed forces and has heard from some of his friends in various ROTC programs that he may be eligible to serve in the reserves. Do the reserves have any different requirements with respect to peanut allergies? I know that over the years some of the other requirements have been relaxed, to the point where even minor criminal records are not a problem(!). Does my son have a chance of getting into the reserves, or should he resign himself to not being able to serve. Any help that you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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    Regrettably, the short answer about serving...in the military...is no. There are a myriad of ways he can still "serve" his country.
    Not knowing who your son is or what the particulars regarding his case are, clearly peanuts are one of the most significant food allergies there are for the general population. It also has the potential for one of the most adverse reactions. That fact, coupled with the fact that peanuts products are used throughout the military food system, makes this condition incompatible with military service. This is one of those areas that will NOT be relaxed. That said, we don't want your son to feel "victimized" by the "system." In fact, it is specifically HIS health and welfare, along with those he would have been charged in leading , that were the primary focus for the waiver denial decisions.

    I'm sorry our decisions could not have been more favorable, but I have no doubt he will succeed in other ways to serve his country.:thumb:
     
  3. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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    As an addendum to my response below, more specifically, the same standrads apply to the Active, Reserve, and Guard components of all Services.
     
  4. bill-dub-ya

    bill-dub-ya New Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to respond.
     
  5. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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    My pleasure:thumb:
     
  6. Greenlady

    Greenlady New Member

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    Hi - I'm a mother of a boy with peanut allergies and surfed into this message boards via google alerts.

    There's one more option - your son could visit an allergist to deterimine if he is truly allergic to peanuts. If it has been years since his last reaction, or if his allergy was diagnosed only due to test results, it is quite possible he is no longer (or never was) allergic.

    Food allergy testing in particular is infamous for "false positives," where a test indicates an allergy where there is none. The only definitive way of confirming a food allergy is a doctor-supervised "food challenge."

    Food challenges can be dangerous - based on my son's reaction history I would not let him take one - but since your son has inadvertently eating peanut-containing foods without a problem, then I'd think he's a good candidate.

    (I'm assuming if he has a doctor certify that he is not allergic, then his military eligibility would be reconsidered.)
     
  7. bill-dub-ya

    bill-dub-ya New Member

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    Greenlady: an interesting idea! I will speak to my son to get it set up with a Doctor. I am also assuming that a clean bill of health from a doctor would be enough to allow him to apply and serve.

    Thanks for the idea!
     
  8. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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  9. NavIss58

    NavIss58 Member

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    food allergies

    I also posted a new thread on this topic so accept my apologies for any duplication...and late entry to the this thread...my son is currently doing the great "food challenge" by recommendation of our doctor. So far he has not tested positive for peanut allergies and the food challenge has confirmed that. We are going for the "tree nut food challenge" today, almonds, then walnuts next week under strict supervision of a specialist.
    I agree with Greenlady that these things can go either way. Hopefully we can overcome this remedial through the requested testing. Our doctor did tell us that some people can have a "false positive" and that only the food challenge can tell. As Jammie (Myth Busters) says, don't try this at home.
     
  10. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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  11. laradeluna

    laradeluna Member

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    I was awarded the AROTC Scholarship just a few weeks ago. I took care of my remedial literally the day after I got the letter. I just found out that I've been dq'd due to a peanut allergy and I am blown away. A PEANUT ALLERGY?! I'm just at a loss at what to do, and looking at all of these posts things don't seem to be looking to good. Hard for me to believe that there's nothing I can do about this dq.

    Words of advice? Encouragement?
     
  12. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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    Cut and paste your posting; provide complete name and last 4 SSN; send to larry.Mullen@dodmerb.tma.osd.mil. I can assist U better from there. Probably on Sunday:thumb:
     
  13. joerod

    joerod New Member

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    Peanut Allergy

    First, I totally feel your pain as my son went through this same ordeal... so I thought I would share this story with you, as there might be some hope.

    As a child, my son was diagnosed as anaphylactic (swelling of tongue, closing of throat, difficulty breathing) to peanuts. In a word, he was allergic to nuts, specifically peanuts. He received this diagnosis as a child, probably at about age 10. At about age 7, he ate several peanut butter cookies and had a mild reaction. About two months later his mother told the doctor about the incident which prompted the doctor to have him tested by the allergists. Well, he tested positive for peanuts. Somehow, after follow up visits to the allergists, someone starts to document him as anaphylactic, which we later found out was never proven accurate and was always assumed. Well, we were young parents then and really didn't think much about the diagnosis and never considered his future desire to attend the AFA or the military, much less that peanut allergies are considered a "common food" and will get you DQ'd from the military. As a high school senior he applied for the AFA, but was medically DQ'd, pending a medical waiver. My son was heart broken and said it was ridiculous because he had inadvertently eaten peanuts several times over the years, without any reactions. He asked to take an "oral food challenge" to determine if he truly had an allergy to peanuts. After receiving the medical DQ, (pending a waiver) we immediately set up an oral food challenge test. The allergist said if his skin prick test had a reaction bump less than 5 mm (out of 20mm) she would allow the food challenge. Well, he had a 7mm, and the nurse said "no way" I would not let my child take the oral food challenge. We went to the lobby depressed, but moments later his doctor said, "a 7mm is not too bad. If he wants, he can do the food challenge." The allergists continued, "any tingling of the tongue or difficulty breathing then the test stops." With out hesitation my son agreed. The test consisted of eating five doses of peanuts every twenty minutes, over a three hour period of time, under constant monitoring. Every twenty minutes his vitals, skin, and breathing were checked. Each twenty minutes, he consumed an amount of peanuts which doubled in dose until he consumed a total of 8.8 grams of peanuts. (I think he started with a dose of about .25 grams). Incredibly, he had no reaction. He was cleared from being allergic to peanuts and can now consume peanuts. (He hates them though and refuses to eat them). Nonetheless, although his skin test was positive for nuts, he outgrew his allergy, despite the skin tests stating he was positive for peanuts. Unfortunately, he never received the medical waiver from the Air Force Academy. However, Air Force ROTC granted him the medical waiver and he received his AFROTC scholarship. :thumb: You may want to consider a food oral challenge, and if you pass the oral food challenge, get the results and a letter from the doctor and forward them to DODMERB. Medical waivers however, can take a long time. Obviously, the food challenge isn't for everyone and peanut allergies must be taken seriously, but this is something you can consider. Good Luck. Hope this helps.
     
  14. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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    For all who view this thread --- joerod is absolutely correct! great outcome for HIS son! HIS case is HIS case. All others should focus on the last 3 sentences of his posting---- 100% on target:thumb:
     
  15. Rupper

    Rupper New Member

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    This sounds very similar to my son's situation. We are currently waiting for a waiver, after having completed a successful peanut challenge, and hope to be able to accept an AFROTC scholarship. One question for you...did your son's history show an allergy to any of the other tree nuts or was it just peanuts? My son has a history of slight reactions to walnut and pecans, although nothing severe. I am wondering if the AFROTC review committee is only concerned with peanuts?
     
  16. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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    All food allergies are a concern. Peanuts are @ the top of the list. The overarching issues are history of reaction, prognosis for future reactions, severity, frequency, etc:thumb:
     

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