Leaving the military brings a lot of unexpected challenges. Visiting foreign lands or returning to a new location could expose your body to allergic reactions you never knew existed, which can be difficult to deal with if you're unable to find the source. If you need help with identifying and treating allergies that could have been a result of exposure during your military days, consider a few ways an allergy specialist, like one at The Regional Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center, PC, can work with the VA to make your healthcare experience better.
Allergies You Didn't Know You Had
Visiting other countries during military service can be an inspiring and life-changing experience. Unfortunately, even a person who was assumed to be in perfect health can fall victim to allergens that simply didn't exist back home.
The military entry physical covers only basic physical fitness, and doesn't include allergy testing unless specifically requested before immunization. During military service, it's easy to be referred to an allergy specialist for testing, but you'd have to suspect a problem to ask in the first place. Once you reach a new destination, any number of issues could lead to an early departure or a miserable time.
Unfortunately, some allergic responses are more than sneezing, watery eyes or an upset stomach. Swelling or other immune system reactions could flare up to the point of being permanently damaging. For many veterans, simply escaping an allergic environment is not enough.
For example, consider veterans serving in desert climates. Allergies to dust may not be very common, but for sufferers of both allergic rhinitis and sensitive nasal glands may suffer violent sneezing and coughing as dust storms become more prevalent. Sand is harder than allergens such as pollen or animal dander, and powerful sneezes can result in significant nasal damage.
Even when the veteran leaves a desert climate, the damage is already done. The allergic rhinitis may not have changed, but the veteran may be more sensitive to anything that enters the nose and touches sensitive, swollen glands (a common cause of non-allergic rhinitis) or wounds. The healing process may be difficult due to the moist nature of the nose, and ointments such as zinc-based relief medication may not be able to heal the problem.
An Allergy Specialist Can Help Medically And Financially
Getting treatment for new and confusing conditions needs to happen as quickly as possible. Although allergies and common cold-like medical issues are different, allergies can expose your body to infection and lead to a generally miserable time if not treated.
If an allergy specialist is a bit out of your price range, consider at least getting an allergy test and examination. If you believe that some of your problems were made worse by your time in the military, there is a compensation rating for you through the Veterans Affairs (VA) disability system. The rate may not be as high as other conditions unless you have severe allergies, but there is a 0% rating that provides disability medical assistance without monetary compensation that may be good enough for your situation.
Allergies are often underestimated by those who aren't suffering from their complications, but the VA has allergy categories that are eligible for monetary compensation and medical assistance. Due to long wait times, the VA can (and often prefers to) refer you to a civilian allergy specialist--namely the specialist who performed your allergy testing.
Contact an allergy specialist to explain your situation, gather evidence and work towards a speedy recovery.