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Children with asthma may have food allergy

Children with poorly controlled asthma or skin allergies may be more likely to have food allergies.

Children with asthma may have food allergy

Children with poorly controlled asthma or skin allergies may be more likely to have food allergies.

It's known that poor minority children, many of whom live in inner cities, have high rates of asthma and nasal allergies. To look into the association between asthma and food allergies, researchers studied 228 inner-city New York children who visited an allergy clinic.

About 28 percent had an allergy to at least one food - with eggs, peanuts and milk being the prime culprits.  And over 70 percent were sensitised to at least one food - meaning their blood tested positive for antibodies against a particular food. In other words, their body was on the alert, and they were at increased risk of an allergic reaction. Some of the children were tested for food allergies because they had symptoms, such as hives or an itchy rash, breathing difficulty, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea soon after eating a particular food.

But most - 62 percent - had never had any obvious reaction to food. Instead, they were tested because they had asthma or eczema (an allergic skin condition) that was not responding well to medication. The children in this study were patients at an allergy clinic, so they are not representative of inner-city children in general.

Regardless of what's behind the trend, the research team says that when inner city children have skin rashes or asthma that can't be controlled with standard medicines, doctors should consider the possibility of food allergy - even if the children don't show any of the usual reactions to food.
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