Kids with asthma unknowingly may have peanut reaction

July 6, 2015

Researchers recommend parents of children with asthma also get tested for a sensitivity for peanuts, which could serve as a trigger.

Many children who have asthma also have a sensitivity to peanuts, according to data presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Thoracic Society in Denver in May.

Dr CohenRobert C. Cohn, MD, MBA, and colleagues, analyzed the medical records of 1,517 children with asthma at the pulmonary clinic at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, for respiratory problems and left with a confirmed diagnosis of asthma.

The results showed that about 11% of the children had a documented history of peanut allergy either by symptoms or by skin testing done by an allergist.

The researchers found that nearly 44% had undergone a blood test to check for peanut allergy. A little more than 20% of those children tested positive for peanut sensitivity. Over half of these children and their families didn't know the child had any sensitivity to peanuts.

Related:Women hospitalized more for asthma than men

“As part of their asthma workup, many of the children who came to clinic had a blood test to screen them for sensitivities,” Cohn tells Medical Economics.

“Twenty-two percent of those tested had a positive blood test for peanuts. Of that 22% group, about half never suspected the result.

“Since any allergy can act as a trigger for an asthma attack it might be helpful to have the child screened for a peanut sensitivity in children who have been diagnosed with asthma especially if they have uncontrolled cough or wheeze,” Cohn says. “Further work should be done examining the relationship between peanut sensitivity and asthma.”

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, of food-allergic children, peanut is the most prevalent allergen, followed by milk, and then shellfish.

The study findings have not yet been published in a peer-review journal.

x