Kids with stubborn asthma are more likely to have food allergies –


Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, US, led by Dr Julie Wang, have found that amongst inner-city children with poorly controlled asthma, 28% have a food allergy, with 71% being sensitised (testing positive for immune system antibodies) to at least one food.

Among US children, the rate of food allergy is currently at about 4%, making the rate amongst these children much higher than average. Some of the 228 children were tested because they had symptoms such as hives, itchy rash, breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea. But 62% had never had any reaction to food, instead they had asthma or eczema that was responding poorly to medication.

The children in the study, which was published in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, were patients at an allergy clinic, so they were not wholly representative of inner-city children in general, but the findings suggest that a doctor who comes across a child with a stubborn or difficult to treat asthma or eczema should take into account the possibility of the child having a food allergy.

It is known that minority children from low-income families have higher rates of asthma and nasal allergies, with the rates estimated at 23% of Puerto Rican children suffering, and 16% of African-American children. But so far there has been no study looking at the corresponding rates of food allergy among this group.

Source: Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

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