Food allergies linked to higher risk of asthma and hay fever

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Children with food allergies are at increased risk for asthma and hay fever, and the risk rises with the number of food allergies, new research shows.

No cause-and-effect link

The study included information on nearly 363,000 children and teens. Half of the kids were white, and 40 percent were black. Between 7 and 8 percent had one food allergy.

"For patients with an established diagnosis of food allergy, 35 percent went on to develop asthma," said study senior author Dr Jonathan Spergel. He is chief of the division of allergy and immunology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Read: High fat food triggers asthma

"Patients with multiple food allergies were at increased risk of developing asthma as compared to those with a single food allergy," he added in a hospital news release.

Just over one-third of patients with food allergy went on to develop hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, Spergel said.

Those rates are about double that of children and teens in the general population, the study authors said. However, this study doesn't prove a cause-and-effect link between these factors.

Read: Children are getting asthma pumps for no good reason

The study's lead researcher was Dr David Hill. "Of the major food allergens, allergy to peanut, milk and egg significantly predisposed children to asthma and allergic rhinitis," Hill said.

Need for more information

"Eczema, asthma and allergic rhinitis are among the most common childhood medical conditions in the US," he noted.

Hill, who is an allergy and immunology fellow, added that there's a greater need for more information on these conditions because the rates have been changing.

The study was published recently in the journal BMC Paediatrics.

Read more:

What is asthma?

Symptoms of asthma

Causes of asthma

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