Asthma/Peanut Allergy Connection

Publish date:
Updated on

When my little guy was diagnosed with peanut allergy several weeks ago, the doctor told us that although PA doesn't actually cause asthma, many people have both conditions. Since then I've read that nearly three-quarters of those with PA have asthma as well! So now I'm freaking out about when or whether the asthma will kick in. Neither my husband nor I have it, but several members of our families do. Our allergist said there was nothing we could do at this point to prevent it, but I'm going to continue breast-feeding Liam (he's nearly 16 months now), and hope he gets some benefit from that. I'd appreciate hearing from some of you who are living with both PA and asthma, and would particularly like to learn at what age the asthma developed. My sincere thanks to all who respond!

[This message has been edited by Liamsmom (edited March 21, 2001).]

On Mar 21, 2001

Hi Liamsmom. My son was diagnosed with pa at 12 months and started having asthma symptoms when he turned 2. That spring he started having problems with this strange cough. He would literally cough all night long and eventually learned to sleep through it. Then I learned on this website that there is a type of asthma called cough variant asthma. So I took him to the pediatrician (not his regular one at the practice) and she said that he was perfectly normal and if the cough didn't bother his sleeping then "just let him be."

He had the same problems the following fall, spring, and then the fall after he turned 3. He started really having problems that fall and we had to take him to the ER because breathing difficulties. That's when his regular pediatrician started taking it seriously. We got a nebulizer to give him breathing treatments at home and his strange little cough went away. Obviously, we were all able to sleep better!

He really only has a problem in the spring and fall. The pediatrician referred to it as seasonal bronchial asthma. We recently moved and his new pediatrician prescribed Claritin for him to start using before spring starts to hopefully control some of his asthma symptoms.

Also, there is no history of food allergies or asthma on either side of our families. I hope your son is one of the lucky ones who is able to avoid it! Good luck. Deanna

On Mar 21, 2001

Liamsmom, welcome! I don't know if we can make a strong co-relation between being PA and having asthma. I do know that a number of us with PA children also have children with asthma, but I don't think we have ever discussed whether this could be a co-relation.

The thing that troubles me about my PA son being asthmatic is that it has been said that if your child is asthmatic and PA they have a greater chance of dying from an anaphylactic reaction than PA people that do not suffer from asthma.

My son was diagnosed with PA at 18 months of age. He had his first asthma attack at 2-1/4 years of age.

If you look under the Links discussion heading on this board, I have put some Asthma Links in because I know that there are a lot of people here dealing with asthma also. I actually find asthma more frightening to deal with sometimes than I do PA.

I actually think, under Living with PA, I probably raised the question about how many of us had PA children that were also asthmatic. Let me see if I can find that one for you. I know that there are a lot of people dealing with it, but I'm still unclear whether it is related to PA directly. I think it has something to do with our children being atopic (I had to ask what that meant on this board after the doctor recently labeled my son atopic) - the child has allergies, asthma and ezcema, all of which have a genetic component.

Does your child have any other allergies that you know of yet? I know that my son's environmental allergies (dust mites, grass, pollen, trees, etc.) are triggers for his asthma. Also, in our emergency plan should he have a reaction to a peanut product, he is to be given both the Epi-pen immediately and two puffs of his Ventolin (reliever) puffer for asthma.

I hope I have been of some help. I'll try to find that other thread about how many people are actually dealing with both. Also, you may like to check out the Asthma Links that I mentioned above simply to see if those websites do provide information on when this usually appears (if there is a "usual" age for it to appear).

Again, welcome, and best wishes! [img][/img]


On Mar 21, 2001

Liamsmom, I did have a similar thread started under Main Discussion. I have just raised it again so you might get a look at it. I only got 12 responses though, so not overwhelming. I know there are more than 12 people here posting that have asthmatic as well as PA children.

I believe this question is really valid and should be raised again. I would either choose the Main Discussion or Living with PA discussion headings, simply because a lot of people don't venture into the Introduction section (it's new) and ask something like Do You Feel There is a Co-relation between PA & Asthma? How May PA People/Parents Are Also Dealing with Asthma? You get my drift.

I think it is a really valid question.

I hope I was of some help.

Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Mar 21, 2001

Although my son has a strong family history of persistent, severe, steroid dependent asthma (on both sides), he is pa but so far non-asthmatic (and neither is his non-pa brother). Both have horrible environmental allergies. My pa son will be 6 later this year and the risk of developing asthma drops dramatically after that age. So I am very hopeful. So in a nutshell (sorry!), pa doesn't always mean asthma but I am beginning to see that this is rare.

On Mar 21, 2001

Liamsmom - Cayley will be 4 in July, and so far, no asthma, although both my mother and my sister have it. My sister's is quite severe and wasn't diagnosed until she was 16 (she doesn't have any food allergies).

I'm like you - hoping against hope that she's spared asthma, but what does keep me going is - research has shown that the younger a child is when diagnosed, the better chance the child has of outgrowing it. At the very least, a very young child with completely "managed" asthma, is very low risk for complications.

Hang in there - asthma is very difficult to diagnose in children, even for doctors. I wouldn't worry about it unless you're concerned about a persistent cough or another specific symptom, like wheezing. Good luck to you and me - PA got us but maybe asthma won't!

On Mar 21, 2001

My son's pa was diagnosed at 9 months and his asthma at 6 years old. He had a couple of bad winters before he was 6 - colds turning into bronchitis or pneumonia, etc., but asthma and environmental allergies did not hit until he was 6. He's almost 10 now and (knock on wood) his asthma seems alot better. It has been a tough couple years though. And I have been told that asthma hides in puberty for some boys. Wouldn't that be nice.....

On Mar 21, 2001

My 5-year-old PA son has what his allergist called intermittent asthma. He doesn't use an inhaler on a daily basis. It is used as needed. "Needed" can be defined as three mornings in a row to once in three weeks. It really varies. He also has cat allergies and exposure to cats really agravates his asthma. His first PA reaction was at the age of 2 and his asthma first surfaced at 3. Our allergist and pediatrician are expecting him to outgrow it, but more than likely he will have flare ups whenever he's exposed to cats. Really the only times he does need his inhaler is in the morning when he first wakes up or in the evening, when he is trying to sleep. There is a definite correlation to PA and asthma. At St. Louis Children's Hospital the Allergy and Pulomonogy clinic are one in the same. Not to mention, some people's allergic reaction is an asthmatic reaction, like my son's reaction to cats.

On Mar 22, 2001

My non PA son has cough variant asthma which usually is only a problem in the fall, although it will sometimes kick in with colds. He was diagnosed at 4,although he had symptoms from the age of 2. My PA son had his first wheezing (the more typical variety) episode at 9 months, and still gets it occassionally with colds or bad allergies. He is 7 now. I should mention that we do have a strong history of asthma/environmental allergies in the family. As asthma goes, we are very lucky. They are both very under control.


On Mar 22, 2001

WOW -- thanks for all those great responses! I enjoyed reading each of them. Now I have some idea of what to be looking for in the next few years. I'm comforting myself by thinking that even if my sweet Liam eventually develops asthma, we'll have adapted to living with PA by that point, & will take it in stride. Splendid rationalization, yes? I plan to check out the recommended Links discussion areas to look for other threads regarding asthma, and may post my question again under Living with PA. One bit of asthma-related humor to share: The very day that we saw the allergist & started to worry about the potential for asthma, Liam invented a new noise to express amusement -- it's a slow intake of air through his throat with a decidedly wheezy sound (if any of you have ever heard a horse "cribbing", you know the sound). As you might guess, this noise earned Liam a LOT of attention from his parents, and he immediately decided to add it to his repertoire. Since then, I've often been driving around town, my brain preoccupied with various PA-related issues (I'm pretty obsessed at this point), when I hear this long, drawn out, "eghhhhhhhh" from the back seat. I twist around in alarm, only to see a wicked grin plastered on Liam's cherubic little face. Sixteen months old, and already he knows how to give his mom a heart attack... Again, many thanks for your stories and suggestions!

On Mar 22, 2001

I have a question to all parents here who say their child has asthma. My daughter has reactive airways, but our doctor said asthma is a degenerative disease, and it isn't proper to label small children as having asthma. Were your children tested in some way for asthma? Or are doctors just saying a child who wheezes or has breathing trouble has asthma?

On Mar 22, 2001

ConcernedMom, my son had two asthma attacks which were diagnosed in the emergency department of a hospital. This led to him being diagnosed as "asthmatic". My daughter has not had an asthma attack but due to breathing difficulties she had with a virus two years ago she was diagnosed as "asthmatic". Yes, that would appear to be very unclear.

With my son's first asthma attack, I was totally unprepared, but it was recognized immediately by the intake nurse at emerg as being an asthma attack. Even when he had his second attack, I couldn't recognize it for what it was. This is why I often say that I find asthma scarier to deal with than PA most of the time.

Also, I did learn that I had wheezing bronchitis as a child. Nowadays wheezing bronchitis is diagnosed as asthma.

I know that my son is definitely asthmatic. As for my daughter, I actually think she may not be. I will see this Spring when I begin to wean her from the one preventer puffer.

Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Mar 29, 2001

Hi Concerned Mom, my almost 3 year old son has been diagnosed with PA and asthma. The MDs diagnosed him after a series of colds that went into breathing problems and responded to a nebulizer with albuterol and liquid steriods. We were told that they usually wait until after 3 for a diagnosis of asthma and prior just call it reactive airways disease (RAD). Our specialist did not comment on the connection between PA and asthma but from being on a different website ( I learned a ton about asthma and was really prepared for our MD apt. It turns out that my son had a chronic sinus infection for 6 months that was the underlying reason for the asthma attacks. Since antibiotics - no attacks! I would encourage anyone with a child with breathing issues (cough, wheeze, etc) to log on to and learn as much as they can. Since asthma is now under 'control' for the moment, my focus is now on his severe peanut allergy!

On Apr 2, 2001

Both of my children with PA have asthma. My daughter was diagnosed with it at age 2 1/2 but hers is milder than my sons-mostly brought on due to her cat allergy and recently mysterious reactions. When I say milder I mean less frequent and easier to control. My son (peanut, dairy, egg, wheat and some tree nuts allergic) seemed to have breathing problems since he was only a few months old (at least I feel he did) but his pediatrican ignored my concerns regarding his breathing as well as his eczema (which was severe on his face). His new ped. diagnosed him with asthma (although she and other doctors I've spoken with admit it isn't technically called asthma until they are older-it was as good as!) at 5 months old. A month later he was diagnosed with severe food allergies after having had an anaphylactic reaction to a cracker and had to go to the emergency room. He continues to have regular problems with his asthma despite preventative medicine-but so far no hospitalizations. My 6 year old son who is non-PA has never been diagnosed with asthma. A doctor recently described his as reactive airway. He is the one who always gets croupy when he is coming down with a virus and always ends up with a nagging persistent cough( well so do the other two but theirs is different from his). In fact, he is fighting a virus this week.....signs of croup............Let's hope he gets over this one quickly!!! Take care tkiaml

On Apr 4, 2001


On Apr 12, 2001

Does anybody wonder if the Asthma could be related to Tide? I read on one of the discussion groups that Tide contains peanut oil and although my son has eaten peanut oil and had no reaction maybe thier is something else causing the asthma.

Just a thought........maybe a weird one.

On Apr 18, 2001

Gwenevere! My son was diagnosed today as having a severe peanut allergy (along with cats, dogs and sage brush). I have been thinking and pondering and wondering WHAT???? All Day! He loves peanuts! He has been severely asthmatic since he was 6 months old (now 5 1/2) and the one thing that I distinctly remember actually "causing" him to have an allergic reaction (both asthmatic, and eczema) was Tide. I used it ONE time and he broke out all over. Freaky, eh? I never used it again and asked all my relatives to stop right away, and they did. But, weird. -Melanie


Originally posted by Gwenevere Taranto: [b]Does anybody wonder if the Asthma could be related to Tide? I read on one of the discussion groups that Tide contains peanut oil and although my son has eaten peanut oil and had no reaction maybe thier is something else causing the asthma.

Just a thought........maybe a weird one.[/b]

On Apr 23, 2001

Hi everyone. My name is Deb. I am new to this 'talk on your computer' stuff, (my first time actually), but not new to allergies/asthma/exzema. I am however surprised to hear that one can sensitize their baby by breastfeeding while eating the offending foods (I nursed mine for several years and didn't know so I feel no guilt), and certainly was very surprised to hear on this site someone giving advice that a child has a good chance to outgrow PA. After my own research, I was under the impression this was very rare. I belong to FAN. What is the latest?

Anyhow, I have a 7 1/2 year old now who is PA and pistachio allergic. (He has been banned from all nuts.) Of course he has more mild to mod allergies to dairy/wheat/soy/citrus.....He also cannot take the pertussis vaccine, no mmr's when little due to egg's which he can now eat, dogs/cats/a whole bunch of trees....

He is also a high risk asthmatic and has guess what? exzema also. My son has had several anaphalactic reactions/hospitalized for one. (He has a relative who keeps trying to 'test' him, despite my efforts to inform.)

We made trips to the ER for his asthma , sometimes twice in a night . This can be just as scary, and many times more difficult to teach his reactions as they are more subtle ,(he does not usually wheeze), at times does not even cough, he just makes no sounds and must sit to breath at all. His nut allergies are much more straight forward to recognize to others and easier to teach. I actually worry more about the asthma then I do the nut allergy, (except when he's with his one relative). (My son's class is nut free and the school is going nut free and they are very strict in following this.)The asthma has been more of an issue when my son is at school or friends.

To the new mom, you'll deal fine. It's your child. You'll learn a lot, and keep learning. You'll find a comfort zone in all that comes your way.

Does anyone know of laws concerning allergies/asthma other than related to school?