Milk Allergy Symptoms
Milk is one of the most common allergies in children, though many outgrow it with age. Cow’s milk contains more than 20 proteins which cause an adverse immune reaction, but experts believe that whey and casein are responsible for the majority of allergies. Some children who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to soy milk. A milk allergy usually occurs within a few minutes to a few hours after you consume it. In rare occasions, milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Milk allergy is a separate and distinct condition from Lactose intolerance. which is not typically considered to be a disease.
Signs and symptoms of milk allergy
- Skin related: Eczema, hives and rashes
- Respiratory: Asthma, wheezing
- Gastrointestinal: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation or gas
- Anaphylactic shock
Allergy or lactose intolerance?
Milk allergies can sometimes be confused with lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance don’t have the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down the sugar in milk called lactose. This incomplete digestion causes abdominal symptoms such as bloating, gas, pain and diarrhea. Today, people with lactose intolerance can use lactose free dairy products or take Lactaid pills, which contain the missing enzyme.
Recent studies have shown that oral immunotherapy, giving milk protein in small doses and increasing the doses over time, builds up a tolerance to milk. More studies are needed to prove its safety and efficacy. If you’re interested, you might be able to find experimental studies at large teaching hospitals and medical centers, or go to the National Institute of Health clinical trials website and type in the words milk allergy. You might find one near you.
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