A new study indicates that asthma and peanut allergies are often linked, and suggests parents may be unaware that their child has both, attributing symptoms from one to the other.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Cohn, the medical director of Pulmonary Medicine at Dayton Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, said that while the study does link asthma and peanut allergy, the underlying mechanism for that link is uncertain.

The study included 1,517 children at Mercy Children’s who had been diagnosed with asthma. About 11 percent had a known peanut allergy, and 22 percent screened for peanut allergy via a blood test were positive for it.

Dangerous misdiagnosis a possibility

Although the study’s author doesn’t think it’s likely that those with a peanut allergy will be surprised by an asthma diagnosis, most with an asthma diagnosis could be suffering from peanut allergy and be unaware.

“I don’t think children with peanut allergies would be misdiagnosed with asthma,” Cohn said. “It is most likely the other way around. Children with asthma might not be recognized as having a peanut sensitivity.”

It’s well-known that the effects of an allergy and the reaction to it coupled with asthma can be fatal. In addition, some medicines often prescribed for asthma may not be advisable if the child has a peanut allergy.

Cohn’s study was presented at the American Thoracic Society 2015 International Conference in Denver, Colorado.

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