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Asthma in children could mask peanut allergy too

Posted:  Friday, May 22, 2015

Peanuts are one of the top contenders for triggering allergies in children. Now it has emerged that children with asthma may have sensitivity to peanuts and may not know it. This is because symptoms of peanut allergy may moonlight as asthma in these children found American researchers.

To explore the link between peanut allergy and childhood asthma, the US researchers examined 1,517 children from an Ohio based paediatric pulmonary clinic. Children with a known history of peanut allergy or those who recorded higher blood levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) were termed as positive for peanut allergy.

They found that of the total study sample, only 11% had documented peanut allergy. Nearly 44% of the children had undergone IgE testing specific for peanut allergy. Among them, approximately 22% tested positive for the allergy. Yet, more than half of these children and their parents did not suspect sensitivity to peanuts.

Although the prevalence of positive results varied across age groups, the prevalence of known peanut allergy was strikingly similar across these groups. Ironically, peanut allergy and asthma share common respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing.

Talking about the study, the authors said, “This study demonstrates children with asthma might benefit from a test for peanut sensitivity, especially when control of wheezing and coughing is difficult to achieve. If a physician is having this problem, or if a parent notices it in his or her asthmatic child, they should consider testing, even if they believe their child is not sensitive to peanuts. There should be continued investigation to learn more about the connection between asthmatic children and peanut sensitivity."

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