Many children with asthma have reaction to peanuts, but do not know it

May 17, 2015

ATS 2015, DENVER - In recent years and months, peanut allergies in children have been in the news frequently, as scientists reveal new insights into why more and more children are developing them and what can be done to avoid them. However, until now, few have studied the connection between peanut allergy and childhood asthma.

A new study has shown that many children who have asthma have a sensitivity to peanuts, but did not know it. Conducted by researchers in the U.S., the study specifically looked at pediatric asthma patients at a pediatric pulmonary clinic.

The study will be presented at the ATS 2015 International Conference.

"Many of the respiratory symptoms of peanut allergy can mirror those of an asthma attack, and vice versa. Examples of those symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing," said study lead author Robert Cohn, MD, MBA. "This study aimed to evaluate the proportion of asthmatic children who also demonstrated a sensitivity to peanuts."

For the study, the researchers looked at 1,517 children from the pediatric pulmonary clinic at Mercy Children's Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. They determined if the children's charts had a documented peanut allergy and if they had undergone a blood test for antibodies demonstrating a potential reaction to peanuts, known as IgE. Children were considered positive if they had a documented history of peanut allergy or a specific IgE blood test that showed a level higher than normal.

What they found was that of the 1,517 charts that were reviewed, 163, or about 11%, had a documented history of peanut allergy. Nearly 44% (665) had specific IgE testing at some point to test for peanut allergy. Out of that group, 148, or approximately 22%, had a positive test to peanut sensitivity. However, more than half of these children and their families did not suspect there was any sensitivity to peanuts. The prevalence of positive tests varied across age groups but the prevalence of known peanut allergy was strikingly similar across age groups.

"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," said Dr. Cohn. "There should be continued investigation to learn more about the connection between asthmatic children and peanut sensitivity."
* Please note that numbers in this release may differ slightly from those in the abstract. Many of these investigations are ongoing; the release represents the most up-to-date data available at press time.

Abstract 61468

Prevalence of Peanut Sensitivity Among Children with Asthma

Type: Scientific Abstract

Category:01.21 - Pediatric Epidemiology: Risk Factors, Outcomes and Management (PEDS)

Authors: R.C. Cohn, A. Al-Yazji; Mercy Children's Hospital/University of Toledo - Toledo, OH/US

Abstract Body

Introduction: The prevalence of childhood asthma in the US is increasing. Coexistence of peanut allergy with asthma could be a risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality. Also some asthma medications should be avoided in children with peanut allergy. Few studies are available assessing the relationship between peanut allergy and asthma. In this study we set out to determine the prevalence of peanut sensitivity among children with asthma who were active patients in a large pediatric pulmonary clinic.

Methods: All charts of children who carried the diagnosis of asthma and who were actively seen in the pediatric pulmonary clinic at Mercy Children's Hospital in Toledo, Ohio were retrospectively reviewed for documented peanut allergy and the presence or absence of peanut IgE testing. Children were considered positive if they had a documented history of peanut allergy or a specific IgE blood test >0.35 ku/l. Children who had a positive test and who did not report a peanut allergy before testing were labeled as"unsuspected". Data were analyzed collectively and by age groups.

Results: 1517 charts of children diagnosed with asthma were reviewed; 163 (10.7%) had a documented h/o peanut allergy. 665 patients of the 1517 (43.8%) had specific IgE testing at some point. Of the 665, 148 (22.3%) had a positive test to peanut. 53% of these children and their families did not suspect peanut sensitivity. The prevalence of positive tests varied across age distributions but the prevalence of known peanut allergy was strikingly similar across age groups.

Conclusion: In this select group of asthma patients the prevalence of peanut sensitivity was high. Many children/families did not suspect a peanut sensitivity. We speculate that children with asthma might benefit from peanut sensitivity screening especially when control is difficult to achieve.

American Thoracic Society

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to