10-Year Member
Jun 11, 2006
Yep..... the dreaded "A" word! Is is ever waiverable??? My daughter - who never wheezed or coughed in her life.... got a severe sinus infection a year ago with a cough.... her pediatrician "diagnosed" asthma based on her "symptoms".... she was playing varisty soccer and got winded.... go figure! Dr gave her an inhaler..... even though he could not hear a wheeze.
Her Dad was with her at the visit....I was furious!!! We all figured well there goes any military service....since it is now on her medical record...
Then she heard about kids getting waivers...... can/should we have diagnostic testing done before the DoDMERB physical.... or should we just forget about any academy or military service??

Asthma is not the dreaded disqualification it once was. If it was an isolated incident associated with an illness it may be able to be cleared at DoDMERB, but if she did in fact have to use the inhaler for a prolonged period of time, or is still using the inhaler then that is a different story.

In either case waivers can be granted depending on the severity of the symptoms. If you wish to get testing done you can do that. There are multiple tests that can be performed. There is the normal pulmonary function test, which in and of itself itsn't a very good diagnostic test. There is the pre and post-bronchodilator test, which is a step above and is useful to see if there is any difference in the pulmonary functions after the use of an inhaler. The final one is the methacholine challenge test, where the physician administers an inhaled medication in increasing doses to try and provoke a asthma attack while checking the pulmonary functions after each dose. The last one can be a very expensive test (last I heard it was around $1,000).

My advise (again, this isn't a medical recommendation, just my opinion and what I would have recommended while a reviewer at DoDMERB) would be to get the physical examination done, gather all medical records from birth to present, this is another one of DoDMERB's automatic requests, from all sources, pediatrician, hospital (if she was ever hospitilized), any specialists she may have seen for any reason. DoDMERB does understand that people move, physicians sell thier practice/retire/die/ect., so if you are unable to get records from say 5-7 years of age, just attach a note to the records explaining why there is a gap. Hold these records until you get the request from DoDMERB, do NOT send it in with her physical examination, reason being, the contractor or MTF that does the physical exam will more than likely never forward the information to DoDMERB, and I always advised applicants and parents to mail the remedial information in themselves. Once DoDMERB has had a chance to review the records and if a disqualification is issued I would then go for the pre/post-bronchodilator test. My thinking behind this, if it was a one time episode associated with an illness and the physician that reviews the case at DoDMERB does not feel that it is likely to reoccur, DoDMERB can clear it and the testing would have been for nothing. If the physician does not feel comfortable clearing it, or there is evidence that this may be a chronic condition and a disqualification is issued, then the pre/post-bronchodilator test will give the waiver authorities more information to work with.

I know this is a lot if information, and if you have any other questions please feel free to ask!
Would I need to get a waiver for a mild case of hay fever (once or twice a year)?
I have a brief experience along these lines. I never had asthma nor have i ever been diagnosed with it. However, i have a long history of sinusitis. I had two inhalers about 2 or 3 years ago to help with a chronic cough after an infection (steroid and albuteral (sp?)). Along with every shred of medical paperwork ever filed on me being sent it, DoDMERB had me do a Pulmonary test. I never though I was special in terms of lung capacities. BUT, when my weight, height, and age were factored in, my capacities were between 105-151% of a "normal" person of similar age, weight, and height. Once DoDMERB received that, I never had any more issues with my sinus or lungs. Go get her tested, if insurance covers it, a few dollars is worth the sense of mind.

Hope that helped.

Mild hayfever that occurs once or twice a year, controlled by either over the counter (OTC) medications or by a mild prescription from your physician should not be a problem.
I have rather severe allergies (all environmental stuff). I take a prescription medication for them, and it seems to work very well. DoDMERB asked that I submit another form and any hospitalizations (there were none). That was all they needed.

Thank you so much for your encouraging words.... we will just go through the exam and take it from there... fortunately we have access to complete medical records since birth...
with over 50% of the kids in our area being diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives I was beginning to think that we would not have much of a military in the next generation!

One more question: If she is issued disqualification and needs a waiver.... do the different academies and ROTC use different criteria in issuing a waiver?? i.e. could she be issued a waiver for Navy and not Army (and vice versa)??

If found disqualified, it is possible for the different services to look at the information differently. Each service waiver authority has their own criteria for issuing waivers. I have seen cases where the service academy may deny the waiver, but it is granted for ROTC, also where one service academy may deny and another service academy may grant the waiver.
RetNavyHM said:

also where one service academy may deny and another service academy may grant the waiver.

I am a personal testament to that statement. I might have been a zoomie otherwise
Reactive Airway Disease

Howdy Folks,
I'm showing the last post on this thread as 2006, so jumping to 2009:

My son is at the DoDMERB stage of his academy quest.
He's been rejected for asthma; something we didn't realize was part of his medical history until we found out that the reactive airway disease that his pediatrician had diagnosed is considered asthma in the DoD Inst that DoDMERB uses. We took him to to a pulmanologist who completed a spirometry and found no evidence of asthma. We also submitted statements from his high school football coach and high school soccer coach stating he had never demonstrated health concerns while playing both ways in the extremes of Texas weather. He doesn't use an inhaler.

We are, of course, willing to take him anywhere for further evaluation if that would help with his case.

For the DoDMERB experts:
It is my understanding that DoDMERB will judge the waiver request only on information that we submit rather than asking for specific information. Is that true or do we wait for DoDMERB to task/request further evaluation? Or is there more we can/should do at this point? Is the pre/post bronchodilator different than the spirometry?

Thanks in advance,
Navyair83. U R incorrect in a lot of areas. Cut and paste your posting; send me your son's full name and last 4 of SSN; to Send it after 7 PM MDT tonight. I will reply before noon tomorrow.:thumb:
Straightened out and moving forward

Mr. Mullen,
It was a privilege to speak with you, sir.
Regardless of my son's waiver outcome, you have treated him as if he was one of your own. I can't thank you enough for the care, concern and effort you have demonstrated in his case and in the other cases I have witnessed on this forum. The military and our future military leaders are indeed fortunate to have you working with them and for them.

PS. My younger son says you can party with him anytime!:biggrin::thumb: