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  1. #1
    Radar's Avatar
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    Asthma and law enforcement

    Anyone have asthma and work as a police officer? I'm just wondering if I should mention it to my department that I've been diagnosed asthmatic. Well, I haven't been diagnosed yet, I've got to go see the doctor for some more tests. Lately my life has been nothing but stress and worry, now I'm fretting if my department learns I have to carry an inhaler or worse that I'll be forced into medical discharge.
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    We have a guy who has it. It was bad enough in the academy he had some kind of oxygen/inhaler machine for recovering from PT. He was able to do everything though, and still can on the street. He just needs an inhaler to recover.

    If you are on probation or trying to get hired with a new department I'd hold off on any kind of diagnoses unless it is an urgent health issue.
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  3. #3
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    Agreed. Although I can't see how the department could consider it a discharge situation if it does not stop you from doing your job.
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  4. #4
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    I had a girl in my academy class with minor asthmatic problems, when it came time for pepper spray she couldn't get sprayed and also wasn't allowed to carry it. It never was a major issue, but you could have problems in a spray situation.

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    It not what you can do, but how will your department look at it as a LIABILITY problem. If, because of your problem, you or someone else gets injured during a "fight" or whatever, what is the departmentsd responsibility if they knew you had a debilitating condition. Something you and your agencyhas to determine.

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    I'm asthmatic and it was never a problem. I just made sure to have my inhaler with me. The academy was rough because of a lot of people's misconception of what it is and how they think it's something you can just make happen if you didn't feel like running anymore. Yeah dumbasses. Just regulate yourself, you know yourself best and what you need to do for you and do it.
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    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    I am a lifelong asthmatic. Asthma comes in a lot of different forms, so it really depends on the person. While you may want to do this, can you? I can handle and control my asthma. If I have to run a guy down, I can and fight him afterwards if I have to. I know a guy at another department that can't run or fight. Period. That to me is useless. If you can run and be able to do PT after you run, no worries. If you can't, see what you can do to get it under control first. If you can't get it under control, need to do some evaluating.
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  8. #8
    Jks9199 is online now The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    I've known people with such severe asthma that they almost couldn't walk up a flight of stairs... and others who carried an inhaler just in case, almost more as a good luck charm...

    You might be able to find the policy if you poke around discretely, and then like Xiphos said, if you're on probation... stall the diagnosis if you can. But there are two issues to think about: are you endangering your brother officers or the public by your physical limitation (or yourself), and what is both your personal and your departmental liability if something happens to you at work either because of or that is worsened by the asthma?
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  9. #9
    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    Exactly, JKS9199.
    And Shepards we shall be,
    for thee, My Lord, for thee,
    Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
    That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy Command.
    So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
    And teeming with souls will it ever be.
    In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.

  10. #10
    Radar's Avatar
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    I've been in law enforcement since 2003. I've never been diagnosed asthmatic before now, and therefore it has gone untreated though I've been this way as long as I can remember. But it is getting worse, especially due to the cold weather. The rapid temperature changes of just stepping out of a building into the cold and then into my car has created a coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath spell that scares the ever living crap out of me. At times I cough until I throw up. This is unprecidented it has never been this bad, never happened like this before.

    Until this winter my coughing, my wheezing, my shortness of breath has never been so much of an issue that has affected my job before. I talked to my doctor, he says he thinks I might be asthmatic considering all the symptoms he's seen in me lately and what is getting worse.

    In the academy I did have a problem in two areas only, when I ran the 1.5 mile I started having shortness of breath right at the end and didn't get the best scoring but I passed, then during macing, I got maced, completed the entire obsticle course, and after I was told I passed I nearly stopped breathing and it took me longer to recover than anyone else, even though about twenty were maced after me.

    The reason for my concern is there is a shakeup under way at my department, they are looking for reasons to get rid of people in my division so that ultimately they can eliminate my division.

    Because of this I've been looking into moving to other divisions or even other agencies.
    I keep getting told off when I mention to other officers who don't know me well when I mention some of the areas I've been considering, airport police, federal air marshals, or within my own agency something like mounted division or school security/school resource officer. I keep being told that I'm young and healthy and shouldn't be looking for the easier jobs that the old timers usually go to on their way to retirement.

    I'm in fear of telling my department if I get diagnosed, I'm equally afraid of staying in my special operations intense environment if it keeps getting worse, and afraid of having it effect my ability to go somewhere else as well.

    I'm not sure what to do.
    Here Speeder, Speeder, Speeder


    "Oderint dum metuant" - Caligula

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  11. #11
    Car 4's Avatar
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    My asthma started on my 30th birthday, several years after I started my job. I never did tell my department because I was able to treat it with inhalers.

    Given my rather generous retirement system, I could have gone out at 60% pay after 4 years....but I didn't join to be a quitter so I stayed.

    Get some treatment...Albuterol is good and also twice daily Advair. It is cumulative but works well after a week or so.

    Car 4
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  12. #12
    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    My error, Radar. I thought you had just come into the job. What I get for assuming...

    In that case, man, I would do what Car4 is saying. It really can be controlled.
    And Shepards we shall be,
    for thee, My Lord, for thee,
    Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
    That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy Command.
    So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
    And teeming with souls will it ever be.
    In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.

  13. #13
    Jks9199 is online now The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    I'm in fear of telling my department if I get diagnosed, I'm equally afraid of staying in my special operations intense environment if it keeps getting worse, and afraid of having it effect my ability to go somewhere else as well.

    I'm not sure what to do.
    I can't tell you what to do, and I'm not going to.

    But I am going to suggest you strongly consider the two questions I posed:

    1. Is your health/physical capability endangering yourself, your brother officers, or the public?

    2. Is the liability created by working acceptable to you?
    If you can give a satisfactory answer to both -- that's that. If you answer no to either, you need to strongly consider what you're doing.
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

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  14. #14
    IndianaFuzz's Avatar
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    I think the issue is if there's any department policy that you would be breaking by not telling them? If not then just do what you have to do to control it. If it is policy, then it's a question of if you want to risk getting in trouble for intentionally violating policy. Though for me, if the choice is leaving law enforcement, or risk getting in trouble, I'd risk getting in trouble. At least then there's a chance to stay in the business.
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  15. #15
    2 Blue 4 U's Avatar
    2 Blue 4 U is offline Retired NYPD
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    I started to develop some really bad upper respiratory problems several weeks after 9/11, we were working long days with no breaks, figured just run down and came down with a cold. Did not even want to go out sick, so many others were in the same boat, difficulty breathing, tired run down. Eventually it got so bad I had no choice but to go to the doctors, had a hard time breathing, just figured the cold turned into a respiratory infection and antibiotics would send it away. Antibiotics, cough meds & steroids helped but not totally. First diagnosed with Bronchitis, then Asthma, several times it was so bad I had to rush to get put on a nebulizer just to breath. I was a smoker, so that did not help matters. Funny, I think back how I used have to use my asthma pump just so I could grab a smoke, how stupid is that. (and I hated using that asthma pump so much because I felt like it was so ghetto, goes to show how much smoking ranked in my life) Anyway, I did quit smoking, life calmed down and eventually so did my asthma. I never did tell the job, nor did i go out sick with it. But I do know there are plenty of LEO who have respiratory problems and the job denied them 3/4 and placed them back on full duty. Not just asthma, but other lung ailments, including sarcoidosis. The job deemed them fit for duty, otherwise they would have surveyed them off the job.

    Personally, before you mention anything, try to manage it, try to find out if there is something that triggered your asthma, could be an allergen, either environmental or a food, could be stress to. See an allergist, they can test you for environmental & food allergens. If you find out what triggers it you can control it better.

    What ever decision you make just keep in mind, your safety and health is most important.

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  16. #16
    pharmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Blue 4 U View Post
    .

    Personally, before you mention anything, try to manage it, try to find out if there is something that triggered your asthma, could be an allergen, either environmental or a food, could be stress to. See an allergist, they can test you for environmental & food allergens. If you find out what triggers it you can control it better.

    What ever decision you make just keep in mind, your safety and health is most important.
    I agree with 2 Blue on the allergist and prevention and control. And as several other have mentioned, there are medications that are available that control asthma symptoms very well that only have to be given once or twice a day (Spiriva, Advair, Symbicort, etc) but you will also need an albuterol inhaler (rescue inhaler) on hand just in case for acute symptoms that may arise...

 

 

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