Understanding Cow's Milk Allergy

Cow’s milk is the leading cause of allergic reactions in young children. In fact, milk allergy affects around 2%-3% of infants worldwide. Its symptoms can be severe enough to cause great distress for the allergic child as well as to his or her family. But here’s good news: Most children outgrow this kind of allergy when they reach the age of 2 or 3.

Causes of milk allergy

Malfunction in the immune system causes all food allergies. Two kinds of protein in milk can cause allergic reactions: casein and whey. Casein is found in the solid part (curd) of milk that curdles. Whey, on the other hand, is found in the liquid part of milk that remains after milk curdles. Your child may have an allergic reaction to either casein or whey or allergic to both milk proteins.

Symptoms of milk allergy

Symptoms of milk allergy are different from person to person. In most cases, reactions to milk allergy occur after a few minutes to a few hours after consuming milk or other milk products. In some cases, allergic reactions develop after ingesting milk or other milk products for an extended period of time.

Hives, vomiting, and wheezing are some of the signs of allergic reactions that occur right away after consuming milk. The following are symptoms that take more time to develop: diarrhea, coughing or wheezing, skin rash, loose stools containing blood or mucus, abdominal cramps, and runny nose.

Milk allergy may cause a very strong reaction known as anaphylaxis. This allergic reaction can cause swelling of the throat, mouth, and airways that lead to the lungs. This makes breathing difficult. Additionally, it can cause a steep drop in blood pressure, which may make the sufferer dizzy or pass out. It may also lead to shock.

How milk allergy is diagnosed?

In diagnosing milk allergy, doctors may ask questions about the signs and symptoms, run a physical exam, and have you monitor your daily dairy intake. Your doctor may recommend any or both Skin test and blood test.

How to treat milk allergy

Despite all your best efforts to avoid milk products, you may lapse and come into contact with them. You can take medications like antihistamines to reduce symptoms of milk allergy. You can take antihistamines after exposure to milk products to control your allergic reaction.