Representative TJ Cox Calls for May to be “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month”

May 12, 2020
Press Release

Last week, Rep. TJ Cox (D-CA-21), along with Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), Fred Upton (R-MI-6), and Peter King (R-NY-2), introduced a bipartisan House Resolution that would designate the month of May as “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.” 

“As a member of the bipartisan Asthma and Allergy Caucus, I am proud to co-lead this important bipartisan resolution that will encourage awareness of the prevalence of asthma and allergies,” said Rep. TJ Cox. “Asthma is far too common in the Central Valley. Kids should never have to miss school because of a treatable condition, and hardworking families shouldn’t have to be burdened with paying exorbitant medical costs. We’ve worked hard to help people living with asthma and allergies, but we can do more.”

Asthma is a critical health problem faced by millions of Americans, and along with allergies, it is one of the leading causes of illness. Asthma affects 7.7% of adults and 7.5% of children across the nation, and more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, with allergic conditions being the most common health problem among children. In 2017 alone, more than 3,000 people died from asthma-related illness. The numbers are worse than average in the Central Valley, where poor air quality contributes to over 550,000 Valley residents having asthma, and of those, 105,000 are children. The Central Valley also has the highest rates of ER visits for childhood asthma in California. 

The Resolution has support from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American, Allergy & Asthma Network, and American Lung Association.

"The main mission of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is saving lives and alleviating the burden of disease for people in our patient community. That's why resolutions like this are so important. Increased awareness leads to action and can help reduce mortality rates," said Kenneth Mendez, President and CEO of The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. "We're grateful May is once again being recognized as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month especially this year because of the twin threat of seasonal illness and COVID-19 which may put people living with these conditions at greater risk. We're seeing a dramatic surge in people looking for resources on how to manage asthma and allergies amid the 2019 novel coronavirus. Special thanks to Representatives Eliot L. Engel, Fred Upton, TJ Cox, and Peter King for continuing to lead on addressing the needs of Americans with asthma and allergies during this critical time." 

“This year, Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month comes amid an unprecedented time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Asthma affects 24+ million people of all ages and races in the United States and for many symptoms can be life-threatening; asthma patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are at higher risk for more severe complications. It’s critically important that people with asthma and allergies know what causes symptoms, maintain good asthma and allergy control and talk with their doctor to better understand how to manage their condition and explore an appropriate treatment plan. Greater education, awareness and access to care, as well as shared decision making by patients and healthcare professionals, can lead to improved health outcomes,” said Tonya A. Winders, President and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network. 

“Asthma impacts nearly 25 million Americans, all of whom are at greater risk for serious illness due to COVID-19,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “During this pandemic, it is particularly important that we shine a light on those patients as well as their caregivers and providers during National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.” 

Rep. Cox has continuously prioritized asthma and allergy awareness and treatment, and has introduced several pieces of legislation to help those that suffer from the conditions, including:  

H.R. 2508, Better Respiration through Expanding Access to Tele-Health (BREATHE) Act, to help respiratory therapists provide telehealth services to those with COPD, 

H.R. 4548, Asthma Care and Prevention in Rural Communities Act, to help those in rural communities with asthma get access to critical care and services, 

H.R. 4716, Inhaler Coverage and Access Now (I CAN) Act, to make inhaler medication more accessible for families with a high-deductible health plan, and 

H.R. 5230, Elijah E. Cummings Family Asthma Act, which is the Asthma and Allergy Caucus flagship bill, that expands federal, state, and local efforts to improve care for individuals with asthma. 

Read the full resolution text here