According to a new US study which will be presented in Denver at the annual conference of the American Thoracic Society children who suffer from asthma are also likely to have peanut butter allergy. However, since both conditions have similar symptoms most patients are not aware of it..
According to Dr. Robert Cohn of Mercy Children’s Hospital (Toledo, Ohio), the author of the study, if children who suffers from asthma finds it difficult to control the symptoms which include coughing and wheezing they should get tested for other sensitivities such as peanut allergy because that may be a reason why their symptoms cannot be controlled.
A US team of researchers analyzed the health records of 1.517 children who were treated at the pediatric pulmonary clinic at Mercy Children’s hospital in Toledo and the kept track of the number of peanut allergies which were validated by a blood test. The findings of the research showed that 11% of the children were diagnosed with peanut butter allergy. More accurately 665 of the children had undergone blood testing and 22% of them tested positive for peanut sensitivity. However the majority of the children and the families, meaning 53%, where not aware of this condition since it never occurred to them that the children could be allergic to peanuts.
Dr. Chon explained that many of the respiratory symptoms of peanut allergy can be similar to those of an asthma attack and the other way around. Such symptoms include wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. He also added that this research proves that it might be beneficial for children suffering from asthma to undergo a test for peanut sensitivity especially when they notice that they cannot control their wheezing and coughing. He emphasized that peanut sensitivity can make asthma symptoms worse.
A reason why children with asthma should check whether they have peanut sensitivity is the fact that certain medications for treating asthma should be avoided if the patient is allergic to peanuts. According to Dr. Cohn it is not clear which mechanism underlies the connection between peanut allergies and asthma. Further research needs to be conducted in this sense.
The researchers recommend parents and physicians to have children tested for peanut allergy as a precautionary measure even though they might be afraid that a negative result could be obtained. If not properly managed, peanut allergy can be life-threatening since unlike asthma it has no cure, but it is a lifelong condition.
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