Further investigation is needed in the connection between asthma and an allergy to peanuts, but recent studies at Mercy Children's Hospital in Toledo, Ohio found that one asthmatic child in 10 tested positive for an allergy or sensitivity to peanuts when many of their families were not aware of one. The study's leading scientist, Dr. Robert Cohn, said that the symptoms of both are so similar, such as wheezing and coughing, and therefore asthma is taken at face value and not investigated for an underlying cause, such as allergies.
Because combined, children with asthma and an allergy to peanuts are at an increased risk of acute asthma attacks. Peanuts can trigger a severe allergy attack for any child with a peanut allergy, but peanuts may also trigger an asthma attack in kids who are not diagnosed with a peanut allergy. This is where caregivers and parents need to be more cognizant. Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and registered dietitian, Vandana Sheth, RD, CDE, points out that the prevalence of peanut allergy among children appears to have tripled between 1997 and 2008, making the possibility of asthmatic children actually having a peanut allergy more prominent.
Parents with asthmatic children should consider having them tested for a food allergy, especially, Dr. Cohn says, "when control of wheezing and coughing is difficult to achieve." Some asthma medications would not be advised for children with peanut allergies, another vital piece of information to consider. The findings of the study were presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference in Denver, Colorado.