Do you think that any history of allergies, severe, or mild will automatically disqualifying?

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New Member
Aug 13, 2017
Hi, I'm an 18 year old senior in High School whose applying to the Air Force and Naval Academies. To me, either one would be a fine institution to attend, but when I'm scrolling through potential jobs, the pilot requirements for the Air Force (not the Navy I believe) state that you must have "No history of allergies or Hay Fever after age 12."

No, I don't have significant allergies at all, but once, when I was 14, I had a routine skin-prick allergy test that tested for over 50 different allergens. Something was bound to come up. I was very health conscious at that age, so I guess that that's why I took the test.

Here's the results (on a scale of 1-6 I think):
-Ragweed: 4
-Cat: 3
-All others: 0-1 (negligible)

The results weren't overwhelming. However, I would like the following questions to be correctly answered:

1) Will a single allergy test count as a "history of allergies," or would I have to have a more extensive history like a history of shots or medications regarding this?

2) Does having "no history of allergies, fay fever after age 12..." only apply to the Air Force pilot requirements or to Naval aviators, too? (I don't see any mention of allergies in the Navy's requirements)

3) If a single allergy test is done, but still concerning to the AF/Navy, will it be generally waiverable?

4) Are any signs of a history of allergies, mild, or otherwise generally waived?

5) What's the waiver process like, start to finish?

6) If I'm lucky enough to get in to one of the service academies, is there anything that I can start doing now in order to help my odds of obtaining a pilot waiver in 4 years?

7) What's the whole medical evaluation process like? How could they "sniff out" a potential history of allergies? Do they actually check your medical history, or do you check in "yes/no" questions about your medical history yourself? Essentially, can you "lie"? (or in better words, have them overlook it)

8) There are many people that share these same concerns. Please make as thorough and detailed answers as you can and answer each and every question to the best of your ability. Regardless of whether I become a pilot or not, it would be an honor to serve in he world's greatest Air and Space force. Still, I would be extremely honored to have an equal chance to compete for a pilot spot, regardless of my potential "history of allergies." If I forgot to add a question, which I probably did, I will post it below or edit it in on this post as questions 9+.
I'm not the person to answer your questions. I will say that when our son was trying to figure out if he was interested in going to USAFA, he wanted to know if he was qualified to be a pilot. He too read the pointed question about allergies. I figured there was only one way to find out so we made an appointment to the allergist. When we explained the situation, the doctors strong message (from memory) was that if he tested anyone for allergies, something will show up even if it was slight. So he pretty much guaranteed that he will test positive (now requiring a waiver) if he looks long enough. He didn't recommend a test to satisfy our curiosity. So by definition, if people get tested, allergies would exclude 100% of every applicant. So we walked out of the appointment without any test and he told me he was going to write something generic in the medical records like "no test needed".

So my interpretation is people normally go to the doctor for allegories because it bothers them enough to get relief. If so, that is sever enough to warrant a significant problem. If it is incredibly mild or people don't know they have it, people don't bother going. Hence, "they don't have allergies (that bother them)". As a side note, I've hosted enough USAFA students at our home to recognize that some of them did sniffle and had slight congestion related to mild allergies. They are in flight school as we speak. I'll go out on a limb and bet they never mentioned it because they didn't go to the doctor.

Because you tested positive for allergies, that puts you in a different camp. And with the honor code, this now makes you at risk of this being figured out in the future. Recognize that if you lie, you very well may always look over your shoulder and later come clean. The end result is you probably won't be a pilot at USAFA. So I would not lie about what is in your medical records. If I was you, I would not work off of memory. Dig for all of your medical records to see if you can read when is in there. Who knows, maybe you got it wrong (you were only 14) or that information is missing. If you can find this info on paper, they can find it too. Sometimes, records are not easy to find (an obscure clinic outside of where you normally go).

Re: the waiver process. Back in 2009, the waiver process was only offered if they wanted you. So you cannot initiate it. But I would NOT try and go to another doctor or you will open up a can of worms. I'll explain why with a personal example. Our sons waver was for a custom presyncope definition heart diagnosis from a cardiologist at the UofMN. IMHO that doc wanted to create a sub specialty out of thin air.

Basically our son would not stop pushing himself in cross country because he use to be the fastest on the team and wanted to continue being in 1st. But he refused to listen to his growing body and pushed his now 6'3" self to the point of shutting down (about 85/35 BP and white as ghost crossing the line). We were concerned for our son and went to a Cardiologist. With a bunch of exhaustive tests, he said he was fine. Still paranoid that they missed something, our mind wandered and asked for a 2nd opinion to an "expert". This doc gave this unique diagnosis (as opposed to figuring out everyone shuts down if they refuse to listen to their body).

Trying to be proactive, we went to the Mayo in MN to (arguably) the #1 pediatric cardiologist in the world who said the diagnosis was idiotic. But now, it is one experts word against someone else. And he explained that in a p_ssing contest, everyone involved gets wet. Translation: he cannot prove she is wrong and if he argues, it's one expert against another. ;) He wrote all tests came out 100% normal.

Well, I stayed close to the waiver process by letting the USAFA internal person know what was said and why. Our son wrote a note and summarized what we learned. The USAFA admissions person working on the waiver told me that the head of cardiology at the AF was suspicious of why I was getting tests at the Mayo if it wasn't an issue. Luckily, I was intentionally in to loop and was able to explain why we were proactive. But normally, trying to be proactive can work against you. Hence, if I was you, I would not be going to an allergist or it is going to raise a flag.
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7) What's the whole medical evaluation process like? How could they "sniff out" a potential history of allergies? Do they actually check your medical history, or do you check in "yes/no" questions about your medical history yourself? Essentially, can you "lie"? (or in better words, have them overlook it).
Again, I cannot answer this specific question (I don't know how admissions combs through the medical part of the application). But you do realize that your profile talks about where you go to high school, right? Considering that admissions reads this forum, this reminds me of an analogy
With how bad the AF is hurting for pilots, a waiver for minor, treatable sinus allergies should be doable.

In 2009, they waived it with hardly more than a couple questions.
And just one note... your DoDMERB exam does not clear you to be a pilot. At USNA or USAFA you will have another physical junior year. This is much more thorough and intensive than the DoDMERB physical. If you wish to pursue a pilot (or rated for USAF) then you will be evaluated then. It's one of the reasons we all say that if you pursue this path you should be prepared to serve in any role, you won't know this answer until beyond your commitment date. For those of us who have gone through this process, we all have seen this happen over and over again.
A skin test for allergens is not a routine test. Something must have been brought up with your doctor.