MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.— Changes to the Air Force fitness screening questionnaire were made recently, which now include a Sickle cell trait screening. The new FSQ became available on July 19, 2019, and is required for all fitness assessments after Aug. 1, 2019.
The Air Force Instruction 36-2905 has been revised to include a SCT screening. Airmen will check their Individual Medical Readiness status on the Air Force Portal to obtain their SCT results.
“The changes to the FSQ is an example of how the Air Force continually looks at its processes to make sure we are taking care of our Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Richard Speakman, 22nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander. “By asking the one percent of the Air Force’s members who have the sickle cell trait, if they have appropriately prepared for their physical assessment, demonstrates the Air Force’s commitment to being adaptable and ensuring the health of Airmen.”
One of the top concerns for implementing the new changes to the FSQ was to be able to identify Airmen with the sickle cell trait in order to help participants become aware of how critical it is for them to stay hydrated.
The trait is genetically passed on, meaning it was either inherited from the mother or father. It is possible for the trait to cause complications. Especially in situations when low oxygen levels, increased atmospheric pressure and dehydration are involved.
Dehydration can be very harmful. The symptoms can include fatigue, extreme thirst, headache, confusion and dizziness, but those who possess the trait are more susceptible to dehydration.
“Approximately 70% of our bodies are made of water and we need hydration to keep up our energy levels, help with digestion, tolerance of temperature changes and to make sure our liver and kidneys are functioning properly,” said Maribeth Havran, 22nd Medical Group health promotion dietitian.
With this revision, the hope is to help ensure the safety of all Airmen as well as, lower the risk of complications during any type of physical activity. To view the FSQ click here.