Patient advocates and leaders from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) appeal to U.S. representatives and senators to act on the
growing impact of asthma and allergies on communities across the nation, as well as the devastating toll of racial and ethnic disparities and climate change on health.
Each year, AAFA brings patient spokespeople and advocates from across the nation to Congress to help advance policies to save and improve the lives of the 65 million people in the U.S. affected by allergies and asthma. Normally dubbed a “fly-in” because advocates typically travel from around the country to Washington, D.C., this year’s meetings were held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, the AAFA is asking Congress to support funding for key programs and legislation that continue to improve research, prevention, treatment and access to care to save lives and promote health equity.
Community advocates and members of AAFA’s leadership team – including staff, board members and regional chapter representatives – encourage congressional members to support four specific legislative and Fiscal Year 2023 funding priorities:
• $40 million appropriation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Asthma Control Program (NACP)
• The Elijah E. Cummings Family Asthma Act (H.R. 7055)
• $110 million appropriation for the CDC Climate and Health Program
• The Medical Nutrition Equity Act of 2021 (H.R. 3783/S. 2013)
Black Americans are still three times more likely to die from asthma and five times more likely to be treated in emergency rooms compared to white Americans. Black children are 7% more likely to have food allergies overall compared to white children and are more likely to die from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, than white children with food allergies. Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian and Asian children are 25% more likely to have food allergies.
Climate change is a public health emergency. The United States is already experiencing increased levels of ozone and particulate air pollution; extreme weather patterns, such as heat and severe storms; increased wildfires; and longer and more intense allergy seasons.
Every American’s health is at risk due to climate change, but infants, children, seniors, people with chronic diseases like asthma and allergies, people who are pregnant, low-income communities, communities of color, and people with disabilities are most vulnerable.