Peanut Allergy May Lurk Under Asthma

Peanut allergy is a much-publicized pediatric concern, as is asthma. In a new study, a team of researchers from Ohio reported that many asthma patients were found to have a documented peanut allergy but were not aware of that fact.

Peanut allergy is a much publicized topic. In a new finding on the problem a research team in Ohio found that many children being treated for asthma tested positive for peanut allergy but neither they nor their families were aware of that sensitivity.

In a research abstract presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society annual meeting in Denver, CO, Robert Cohn, MD, and colleagues at the Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo looked at 1,517 children in the hospital pediatric pulmonary clinic.

They looked for documented peanut allergy in the patients’ charts and to see whether they had ever been tested for the allergy.

They found that of in a subgroup of 148 patients who had had specific IgE testing to look for peanut allergy, nearly 22% had a positive result. But more than half (53%) of these children and their families did not suspect the child was sensitive to peanuts. Despite having a positive allergy test, children were not labelled as allergic to peanuts unless they or their family reported that they were allergic, the team found.

The prevalence of positive tests varied across age groups but the prevalence of known peanut allergy was strikingly similar across age groups, the team found.

“This study demonstrates that children with asthma might benefit from a test for peanut sensitivity, especially when control of wheezing and coughing is difficult to achieve, Cohn said. “There should be continued investigation to learn more about the connection between asthmatic child and peanut sensitivity.”

In addition, he said, some asthma medications should not be taken by patients with peanut allergy.

Since pediatric asthma is on the rise, he urges physicians to test for peanut allergy in these patients and believes the allergy could playing an unrecognized role in morbidity and mortality in some of these pediatric cases.