For families with food allergies, preparing to fly begins with a list of tasks:
Alert the airline about the life-threatening allergy and request an accommodation;
Carry epinephrine auto-injectors and store them where they can be easily accessed;
Bring safe food; and
Wipe down seats and tray tables.
Some airlines will support travelers by establishing allergen-free buffer zones or allowing passengers to preboard and clean seating areas.
“While these prevention strategies are appreciated,” says Tonya Winders, President and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network, “Congress is poised to do much more: Senate Bill 1972, the Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, will increase awareness and preparedness for responding to a life-threatening allergic reaction in a vulnerable place — 30,000 feet in the air.”
This bipartisan legislation would:
Require airlines to carry epinephrine auto-injectors to be used in the event of an anaphylactic emergency;
Require airlines to train crewmembers to recognize the symptoms of an acute allergic reaction and administer auto-injectable epinephrine;
Direct the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct and submit a report to Congress on air carrier policies relating to passengers with food allergies.
Current FAA regulations require epinephrine vials to be included in each flight´s emergency medical kit; the new bill would replace these with easier-to-use epinephrine auto-injectors.
Marguerite Pennoyer, MD, board-certified allergist, said, “Stocking undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors on airplanes will allow someone without formal medical training to administer the epinephrine and save lives.”
Allergy & Asthma Network is joining with patient advocacy groups across the country to enlist support for the legislation and request the House of Representatives to pass a companion bill.
Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions.