The annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology was held virtually this year from Feb. 26 to March 1 and attracted participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in allergic and immunologic disease. The conference highlighted recent advances in the fields of allergy, asthma, and immunology.

In one study, Alan P. Baptist, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues found that mask use at rest does not affect oxygen saturation levels in patients with or without asthma.

The authors evaluated 223 patient surveys conducted during a clinic visit; 46 percent of respondents reported having asthma. The survey assessed asthma diagnosis, perceived asthma control, and the type of mask worn. In addition, a pulse oximetry reading was performed while the patient was wearing the mask, with patients reporting on how long their mask was worn prior to the measurement. The researchers found oxygen saturation to be in the normal range while patients wore the mask, and this was the case for those with and without asthma (93 to 100 percent, with a mean of 98 percent in both groups).

“Oxygen saturation mean showed no significant difference when adjusted for gender, race, mask type used, or duration of mask use. Oxygen saturation levels did not differ between those with perceived well-controlled and somewhat-controlled asthma,” Baptist said. “This ongoing study demonstrates that wearing a mask is safe regardless of asthma diagnosis. This data may be used to ease anxiety in patients with asthma who are concerned about the effect of mask use on their health.”

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In another study, Jonathan A. Bernstein, M.D., of the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues found that a single low-maintenance nonpharmacologic environmental intervention in the home can have a significant impact on improving asthma severity and control in children.

The authors evaluated whether using a novel ultraviolet irradiation system (CREON2000A) — compared with a sham unit — installed in the ducts of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system in homes reduced asthma severity and improved asthma control in children and adolescents. The patients had mild-to-moderate asthma. The researchers observed a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in the composite asthma severity index after 12 months for children in homes with the active unit (40 homes) compared with the sham control (39 homes). Many of the secondary end points, including reduced daytime symptoms, reduced use of short-acting beta-agonists and controller therapy, missed days from school and work, and asthma exacerbations, were also statistically improved.

“Children with asthma make up a significant percentage of the asthma population and, when poorly controlled, contribute a significant economic burden to our health care system,” Bernstein said. “The results of this study are very exciting as this intervention could have a significant impact on how we manage asthma in the future.”

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Edwin Kim, M.D., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, and colleagues found that sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) may serve as an effective treatment for peanut allergy in toddlers.

The researchers evaluated whether initiating peanut SLIT in younger peanut-allergic toddlers (aged 1 to 4 years) would be safe and desensitize as well, if not better, than it does in older children. After three years of treatment, the researchers found that toddlers receiving peanut SLIT increased their reaction threshold from 143 mg (approximately half a peanut) to 4,443 mg (approximately 15 peanuts), whereas toddlers receiving placebo went from 43 mg to 143 mg. Only about 5 percent of the SLIT doses resulted in adverse events, and most of the events were mild mouth itch or rash and cleared without treatment. No side effects required epinephrine.

“Peanut SLIT in young toddlers appears to be safe, and provides strong desensitization with up to 30 times increase from baseline,” Kim said. “Peanut SLIT with its balance of safety and efficacy might be a good option for peanut-allergic kids in the near future.”

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Abigail Lang, M.D., of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and colleagues found that infants who react to peanut indirectly via exposure to the allergen in breast milk might not outgrow their peanut allergy.

The authors evaluated records from egg-, milk-, and peanut-allergic patients identified from the Chicago Food Allergy Study conducted between 2007 and 2011. They particularly looked at the relationship between maternal reports of symptoms of food allergy to each of the allergens passed through breast milk, as well as the likelihood of the child outgrowing food allergies compared to other children who did not react to their food allergy through breast milk. The researchers found that infants with peanut-related symptoms during breastfeeding did not outgrow their peanut allergies. The same did not hold true for infants allergic to egg and milk.

“Infants who react to peanut via indirect exposure to peanut in breast milk might have a lower likelihood of becoming tolerant to peanut. However, [we] used retrospective self-report data, and breastfeeding symptoms of food allergy can be highly variable,” Lang said. “Prospective studies are needed to see if our observations can be replicated before making definitive conclusions.”

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AAAAI: Peanut Allergy Down 16 Percent in Infants

THURSDAY, March 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — There was a 16 percent decrease in peanut allergy following changes to feeding practices calling for earlier introduction of peanut, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held virtually from Feb. 26 to March 1.

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