A study to be presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2015 International Conference shows that a number of children with asthma may have a sensitivity to peanuts but do no know it. For the study, a team of researchers looked at 1,517 children from the pediatric pulmonary clinic at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. The researchers determined whether or not 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, also 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, as noted on the ATS news release. Of the 1,517 charts reviewed, 163 had a documented history of peanut allergy, while 665 had specific IgE testing at some point to test for peanut allergy. Out of this group, 148 had a positive test to peanut sensitivity, although more than half of these children and their families did not suspect there was any sensitivity to peanuts.
The ATS news release indicates that the prevalence of positive tests varied across age groups but the prevalence of known peanut allergy was strikingly similar across age groups.
Robert Cohn, MD, MBA, lead author of the study, says, “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. This study aimed to evaluate the proportion of asthmatic children who also demonstrated a sensitivity to peanuts.”