Writing about food allergies from a pediatric allergist's perspective

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)

AllergyHome is proud and honored to present our friends, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). AAFA is dedicated to improving the quality of life for our community through education, advocacy, and research. Welcome AAFA and thank you for joining us.

“Food allergy and anaphylaxis are increasingly critical issues that AAFA considers urgent priorities”

Who is the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)?

AAFAFounded in 1953, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is the leading national patient organization for people with asthma and allergies, and the oldest asthma and allergy patient group in the world. AAFA is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies — including food allergies and anaphylaxis – and related diseases through education, advocacy, and research.

Food allergy and anaphylaxis are increasingly critical issues that AAFA considers urgent priorities. Today, approximately 15 million Americans live with food allergies, and people who are also living with asthma are considered to be at-risk even more.


Important Facts: Asthma, Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis

Asthma is highly prevalent among those diagnosed with food allergy, and the presence of food allergy and asthma is a risk factor for asthma exacerbations. In fact, two studies about anaphylaxis found that nearly all food allergy fatalities (and near-fatalities) were among patients who also had asthma. Patients with both asthma and food allergy are at risk for more severe anaphylaxis, they have a higher hospitalization rates, more frequent emergency room visits, and are more likely to be admitted into the intensive care unit (ICU).


Education: A Powerful Medicine

KFA_glowIn July  2013, as part of AAFA’s ongoing commitment to families living with asthma and food allergies, AAFA merged with Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) – which is now a division of AAFA. KFA brought to the table over 16 years of experience with food allergies, and was founded by a mother of a severely allergic child at a time when there were not many resources for parents of food allergic children.

KFA has the largest award-winning online support community for families dealing with food allergies, and a wealth of educational resources to educate families and communities with practical food allergy management strategies to save lives and improve the quality of lives for children and their families. KFA continues to be run by a team of dedicated experts who are able to provide the latest evidence-based information. Join the KFA community and learn more at www.kidswithfoodallergies.org.

AAFA also utilizes multiple online outlets from our flagship website to social media to distribute food allergy and anaphylaxis education. Our website – www.aafa.org – has a food allergy page that patients can reference for helpful information such as diagnosis, treatment, and prevention methods.  AAFA also distributes educational information to its more than 70,000 Facebook fans and thousands more on other social media channels.

Together with KFA, AAFA has a substantial amount of free educational material to offer food allergy families, and the public at-large.


Advocacy: People Matter  

One of AAFA’s biggest advocacy efforts for the food allergy and anaphylaxis community is promoting epinephrine access in schools. AAFA supports school policies that promote access to life-saving medications to treat students and staff who experience severe allergic reactions. States should implement policies that promote access, including: supplying schools with epinephrine auto-injectors to be used in emergencies, appropriately training school personnel, and addressing liability concerns for those who use this medication in good-faith.

AAFA’s advocacy Action Center has a page dedicated to stocking epinephrine in schools. This page gives the community the opportunity to easily take action on epinephrine bills in their states, see the progress their state has made, identify current legislation, and receive the latest epinephrine news.

AAFA works tirelessly to urge state and national officials to consider bills in their individual states via personalized public policy statements, to give the community the resources they need to make their voices heard such as template letters for Legislators, and to effectively educate the community via platforms like social media and webinars.


Research: From Awareness to Understanding

AAFA is the only patient organization in the U.S. that is funding basic clinical science research for asthma and allergies.  Through our Research Fellowship program and our Investigator Research Grants in partnership with the NIH, AAFA is committed to helping in the search for better treatments and cures for these deadly diseases in the future. But, we’re also doing social, behavioral and economic research to find out how to improve patient quality of life today.

AAFA State Honor RollOur annual report, the State Honor Roll™ of Asthma and Allergy Policies for Schools,  identifies states with the most comprehensive and preferred statewide public policies supporting people with asthma, food allergies, anaphylaxis risk and related allergic diseases in U.S. elementary, middle and high schools. www.StateHonorRoll.org

AAFA’s landmark study, Anaphylaxis in America™ is an independent research project of AAFA sponsored by Sanofi US. The studyprovides the first estimate of anaphylaxis prevalence in the United States using a large unbiased survey; and according to the study, patients do not appear adequately equipped to deal with future episodes, indicating the need for public health initiatives to improve anaphylaxis recognition and treatment. www.aafa.org/AnaphylaxisInAmerica

AAFA Allergy CapitalsAAFA’s popular Allergy Capitals™ and Asthma Capitals™ rankings are published every spring and fall to identify the most challenging places to live in America with asthma and allergies, and to remind families about the importance of daily asthma and allergy management. www.AllergyCapitals.com

And We’re Just Getting Started!

With 60 years under our belt, our work is nowhere near done. We are pleased with the lives that we have enabled many asthma and allergy patients to live without limits because of our education, advocacy and research initiatives. As we continue to grow and learn, we look forward to the impact that we will continue to have as that is the force behind all that we do.
AAFA is also proud to partner with local, regional and national organizations to help increase asthma and allergy awareness, education, research and care.

Talisa White, MBA, is External Affairs Manager at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Talisa, who has asthma and allergies herself, joined AAFA nearly three years ago.



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