News Forum: Food allergy and asthma morbidity in children

Simpson AB, Glutting J, Yousef E Pediatr Pulmonol 2007 Jun;42(6):489-95

An association with asthma and food allergy has been postulated and studied before. This study looked specifically at the potential risk of coexisting food allergy and asthma morbidity. The authors investigated the effect of egg, milk, fish and peanut allergy on the number of hospital admissions and the use of systemic steroids in asthmatic children.

The records of 201 children aged three months to 14 years with known asthma were retrospectively reviewed. Of this cohort, 88 children had coexisting food allergy measured by significantly raised food-specific IgE concentrations. Adjustments were made for confounding variables, such as severity of asthma, environmental allergy, eczema, smoke exposure and gastroesophageal reflux.

The authors found that children with peanut and milk allergy had an increased risk of hospital admission and milk allergy alone was associated with increased use of systemic steroids. It was concluded that peanut and milk allergy could be used as early markers to predict asthma morbidity.

This study looked at asthma, rather than eczema. However, the potential link between atopic disease morbidity and specific food allergens warrants further study of eczema patients.

- Dr Waseem Chaudhry, a GPSI in dermatology in Caerphilly

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