Milk allergy is the most common form of food allergy encountered in children till the age of 3 years. The allergy is associated with cow’s milk. It is the protein present in the cow’s milk which is responsible for milk allergy symptoms. The allergy symptoms can also occur with buffalo milk, goat and sheep milk.
Milk protein allergy in an infant is caused when the immune system is malfunctioning. It identifies protein present in milk as a harmful to the body and responses by releasing histamine and other chemicals. It is the release of histamine which causes various allergic signs and symptoms such as rashes and hives, stomach cramps etc.
There are two types of proteins present in cow’s milk, namely casein and whey. An infant or an adult can be allergic to either or both the proteins.
Symptoms of Milk Protein Allergy
The allergy can manifest within minutes or few hours after ingesting milk.
Symptoms after Few Hours of Ingestion of Milk:
- Pain in abdomen.
- Wheezing and cough.
- Red and watery eyes.
- Rash around the mouth.
- Excessive irritability and crying of infant and babies due to colicky pain.
In rare instances there is anaphylactic reaction which needs immediate medical attention. It usually occurs suddenly after ingestion of milk. Breathlessness, wheezing, swollen throat, flushing of face, pale face and low blood pressure in adults are symptoms of anaphylactic reaction.
Also see on Whey Protein Allergy
Avoiding milk and milk products is the only way to stay away from milk allergy in a known case. Despite all the precautions there are chances of milk allergy as many ingredients have direct or indirect association with milk during its preparation. In such cases your doctor will give antihistamines to treat milk protein allergy symptoms.
In case of anaphylactic reaction, immediate medical attention is necessary.
In most cases the baby outgrows milk protein allergy after the age of 3 to 5 years. But in some cases it may prolong even in adulthood.
Also see on Infant Food Allergy Symptoms