Food allergy, milk

Other names: Milk allergy

DEFINITION

Milk allergy is an abnormal immune response to milk proteins, most commonly from cow's milk but can also be triggered by milk from other mammals. Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include hives, wheezing, vomiting, and in rare cases, anaphylaxis.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of milk allergy vary and can include hives, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and more. It is important to differentiate between milk allergy and milk intolerance as they involve different mechanisms.

CAUSES

Milk allergy is caused by the immune system mistakenly identifying milk proteins as harmful, leading to the production of antibodies that trigger allergic reactions. The main proteins in cow's milk responsible for allergic reactions are casein and whey.

RISK FACTORS

Factors that increase the risk of developing a milk allergy include having other allergies, atopic dermatitis, a family history of allergies, and young age. Children with a milk allergy are also at higher risk of developing allergies to other foods and conditions like hay fever.

COMPLICATIONS

Individuals with a milk allergy are prone to developing allergies to other foods and conditions like hay fever.

When to See a Doctor It is essential to consult a doctor or allergist if symptoms of milk allergy occur shortly after consumption. Emergency treatment is necessary if signs of anaphylaxis develop.

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosing a milk allergy involves a detailed history, physical exam, keeping a food diary, elimination diets, skin tests, blood tests, and oral challenges under medical supervision.

TREATMENT

The primary treatment for milk allergy is avoidance of milk and milk products. In cases of accidental exposure or severe reactions like anaphylaxis, emergency epinephrine injections may be necessary.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

Avoiding foods containing milk proteins is crucial. Reading food labels carefully and being aware of hidden sources of milk in processed foods can help prevent allergic reactions. Breastfeeding or using hypoallergenic formulas may be recommended for infants at high risk of developing a milk allergy.

COPING AND SUPPORT

Living with a serious food allergy can be challenging. Seeking support from others in similar situations and staying informed about managing allergies can help alleviate stress.


QUESTIONS

  1. What is the primary treatment for milk allergy?

Avoidance of milk and milk products.

  1. What are the main proteins in cow's milk that can cause an allergic reaction?

Casein and whey.

  1. What are the common symptoms of anaphylaxis due to a milk allergy?

Constriction of airways, facial flushing, itching, shock.

  1. How can you differentiate between milk allergy and lactose intolerance?

Milk allergy involves the immune system response, while lactose intolerance does not.

  1. What are some risk factors for developing a milk allergy?

Having other allergies, atopic dermatitis, family history of allergies, young age.

  1. How is a milk allergy diagnosed?

Through detailed history taking, physical exams, skin tests, blood tests, and oral challenges under medical supervision.

  1. What should you do in case of symptoms of anaphylaxis due to a milk allergy?

Seek emergency medical care immediately.

  1. What lifestyle changes can help manage a milk allergy?

Avoiding foods containing milk proteins and being vigilant about hidden sources of dairy in processed foods.

  1. Are there alternative formulas for infants with a suspected or confirmed milk allergy?

Hypoallergenic formulas or soy-based formulas may be recommended.

  1. What support resources are available for individuals with food allergies?

Support groups or organizations like the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America can provide assistance and information.