According to a new study, up to 10% of those with asthma may have a peanut allergy but not know it because their asthma symptoms (coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath) are so similar to their peanut allergy symptoms.
The study looked at over 1,500 children at a respiratory clinic in Toledo, Ohio and discovered that 10% tested positive for peanut sensitivity. Of that 10%, more than half of the families had no idea that their child had any sort of peanut allergy.
“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,” said Robert Cohn, the study’s lead author.
But others aren’t so sure. Dr. Samantha Walker, the deputy chief executive and director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said, “These findings are difficult to interpret because allergy tests to food are notoriously unreliable and require careful interpretation to confirm a diagnosis of peanut allergy… Many people have positive allergy tests but can eat peanuts safely. And so, it is unsurprising that many people tested for this research did not know they would have a positive test result.”
Even Cohn admits that more research still needs to be done into the link between asthma and undiagnosed peanut allergies.