"Children with food allergies and asthma have a higher risk of a severe allergic reaction to the food allergy, than does a child without asthma," says Mayo Clinic Children's Center, Martha Hartz, M.D., division chair of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.
Dr. Hartz says, in general, children with asthma are more likely to be allergic to peanuts, as well as other foods. New research presented at the American Thoracic Society 2015 International Conference found that half of families whose children have asthma were unaware their child also had a peanut sensitivity. She says it's an issue to be taken seriously. "Peanut allergy is the most common cause of fatal food anaphylaxis in the country," Dr. Hartz says. "So, parents are appropriately concerned about peanut allergy."
Children with asthma who have shown a history of food allergy may benefit from allergy testing. However, she says, screening broadly across the population is likely to cause more problems than it solves, with too many false positive results. For those children with known peanut allergies, Dr. Hartz urges careful avoidance of any foods that may contain peanut products and to always carry an epinephrin injector pen in case of emergency. Click on the video to hear more of Dr. Hartz's advice, including how exposing children to peanut butter at a very young age may prevent peanut allergies.
To read more about the latest research linking asthma and peanut allergies, click here.
Journalists, broadcast quality sound bites from Dr. Hartz are available in the downloads. To read a transcript of her comments, click here.