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Food may trigger life-threatening asthma

In a recent study, for the first time, food allergy - especially to peanuts - has been shown to be a major cause of life-threatening asthma in children. Asthma attacks are the most common reason for children to be hospitalised.

Food may trigger life-threatening asthma

In a recent study, for the first time, food allergy - especially to peanuts - has been shown to be a major cause of life-threatening asthma in children. Despite great strides in treatment, death due to childhood asthma has not dropped and roughly 50 children in the U.K. and more than 200 in the U.S die each year from it. Researchers from the St. Mary's Hospital in London studied 19 children who required emergency ventilator treatment for a life-threatening asthma attack, matching each patient to two other patients treated for a non-life-threatening asthma attack. It was found that 53 percent of children with a life-threatening asthma attack were food allergic compared with only 10 percent of those who had asthma but did not require ventilation. Of those with known food allergy, most appeared to be to peanuts or other nuts. According to the researchers some of the life-threatening asthma seen in children may, in fact, be related to food allergic reactions and have been misdiagnosed only as asthma.
The researchers hope that this study would stimulate an awareness of the importance of food allergy in connection with severe life-threatening asthma.

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, July 2003
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