Case demonstrates relationship between food allergies and asthma

Further evidence of the relationship between food allergies and asthma was demonstrated in a recent case in which a two-year-old girl from Pennsylvania nearly died after suffering an unusually severe allergic reaction after eating an orange.

According to a recent article in Live Science, after the toddler ingested the orange, she developed an allergic reaction so severe her airway began to swell and close and required her to be flown via helicopter to an intensive care unit at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Know as anaphylaxis, this type of potentially deadly allergic reaction is more likely in children with more common food allergies, such as peanuts, eggs or fish, and has never been reported in a reaction to an orange.

“We believe she had undiagnosed asthma, so when she went into this reaction she was already having an underlying airway inflammation,” said Dr. Sigrid DaVeiga, an allergist who was involved with the case.

According to researchers who recently reported this case at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) meeting, this case shows that having asthma may be a risk factor for developing reactions to foods that are difficult to treat. While more research is needed on the topic, researchers said cases like this can lead them to more clues about how the two conditions correspond with each other and could help in their treatment.

“I don’t think anybody really believed that it was the orange,” DaVeiga said. But as it turned out, tests revealed the girl was allergic to oranges, other citrus fruits, and also peaches.” As expected, the doctors also discovered that the toddler had asthma.

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