Milk Allergy in Babies and Adults

Milk Allergy in Babies and Adults

In today’s time, allergies and sensitivities have become more common than ever.  There is a very big possibility that you are sensitive to food or anything in your cosmetics, skincare products and anything you use on a daily basis.

The biggest mistake everyone makes is to ignore the symptoms of any kind of allergy or sensitivity.

Many also confuse them with signs of a typical fever which is a dangerous thing to do especially when avoiding perpetually can lead to serious harm.

One of the widespread allergies that you can see in people is a gluten allergy. You have probably seen the sudden overflow of gluten-free products in the last couple of years and the option of getting the special gluten intolerance menu in restaurants.

So, what is the deal with this sudden change? You have surely heard or know some with Celiac disease. Patients with this disease have to go gluten-free completely due to the abnormal reaction of their immune systems to the protein called gluten.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, there has been a big rise in the prevalence of this disease. In addition, you are more likely to develop gluten sensitivity. This means that you can consume gluten but in controlled quantities.

Sensitivities are not as severe as intolerances. However, avoiding the specific allergen as much as possible is mostly suggested by doctors. Often, doctors will tell you to avoid gluten completely for a specific period of time and then add it in small quantities in your diet.

RELATED: 7 Tips For An Effective Gluten-Free Diet

Another popular food sensitivity and allergy that is on the rise along with gluten sensitivity or Celiac is milk allergy also known as dairy allergy. This particular type of allergy is not known as much as gluten-sensitivity although it is really common.

The estimations made from statistics have revealed some of the very interesting facts about milk allergy like around 3-4% of the children under the age of 3 can have a dairy allergy.

Previously, it was believed that such an allergy is temporary and the child will probably not have it anymore as he/she grows up.

However, more recently, this claim has been falsified as many people who were allergic to milk as children were in a similar condition in their 20s.

One study demonstrated that only 20% of the children outgrow their allergy before the age of 6-7. 57% of the subjects were able to get over the allergy after crossing the age of 16 but that still leaves a good number of people suffering from dairy sensitivity.

The number of patients with a dairy allergy might be rising but it does not mean that there is no cure for it. If you happen to suffer from this specific type of sensitivity, then do not worry because there are tested treatments and ways to control this allergy.

What happens in Milk Allergy?

Milk is one of the most nutritious naturally occurring foods that are necessary for infants and growing children. Coming to think about it, it is rather absurd that someone can be allergic or sensitive to it.

However, it does happen and is categorized as an abnormal reaction of the body. The mechanism behind milk allergy works in a similar way to gluten allergy.

Just like how the body of a gluten sensitive patient treats gluten from foods made from wheat or other grains, someone with milk allergy will also react in a similar way to milk or anything that contains milk.

If you have a milk allergy, your body can have issues with one of the proteins present in milk just like celiac patients have with gluten protein. The milk protein you can be sensitive to is either whey protein or casein protein.

Sometimes, people can be allergic to both of the proteins. Such a person will have a severe body and immune system reaction if he/she accidentally consumes anything that contains milk.

The most common milk that induces such reactions is cow milk but you can have allergy from milk that comes from buffaloes, goats, camels, sheep, and other milk-producing mammals too.

What actually happens in the body of a milk-allergic person is that the immune system detects one or both of the proteins present in the milk as foreign intruders like virus or bacteria. The body then tries to defend itself from the intruders.

This is what leads to not so pleasant reactions in the body when chemicals like histamine as released. You can either have the reactions a few minutes or a few hours after having something that contains milk.

The main antibody that makes people allergic to foods is immunoglobulin E or what is more well-known as IgE. Allergic-specific immunoglobulin E blood tests are available for checking whether a person is allergic to any type of substance.

Common symptoms of Milk Allergy

The signs of a milk allergy can vary from person to person. They can also either show right after you have consumed milk or a few hours later. Usually, immediate reactions are not trivial and not severe.
Some milk allergy symptoms in toddlers, babies and adults are:

·         Hives

·         Wheezing

·         Vomiting

·         Abdominal pain

These are some of the important signs you should look out for if you think you have a milk allergy. Some of the signs can also show much later in the following day. Symptoms that can take time are:

·         Coughing and wheezing

·         Watery eyes

·         Diarrhea

·         A runny nose

·         Loose motions (stools might contain blood)

·         Milk rash around the mouth and lips

·         Nausea

·         Colic (in children and babies)

·         Bloating

·         Severe pain in the abdomen

Another important thing to remember is that if you are allergic to cow milk, you are probably also allergic to milk from other domesticated animals such as cows and buffaloes. Do not just switch milk thinking it will not trigger your allergy.

Secondly, keeping an eye on the foods you are eating to look for milk or milk protein is a good idea. Foods made from milk can have the same effect.

What can be the cause of milk allergy?

Allergy to milk can be described as malfunctioning of the immune system where it takes the proteins in the milk as foreign invaders. As a result, the body triggers that production of IgE antibodies to deal with the detected intruders.

The reason why this happens is people can differ from person to person. The rise of this allergy can be explained by taking a look at weakened immunities due to poor food quality and diets in people. Usually, these factors are also behind intensifying the allergy.

Another factor that can cause milk allergy is family history and genetics. If an allergic reaction to milk proteins runs in your family, there are good chances that it also passed unto you and the generation after you.

Similarly, age plays a big role in milk allergy. Children have milk allergy more than adults even though it is possible to get it. However, this does not mean you can neglect your child’s allergy symptoms as there is no way to determine whether he/she will be able to overcome it.

Milk allergy can also occur with a variety of other allergies. Just like how one disease can lead to another, allergies can be interlinked too. Children who have asthma have more chances of having milk allergy which is the first one to develop.

Another thing to look out for in your child is whether he/she has atopic dermatitis or what is more commonly referred to as eczema. Patients with eczema are more likely to have a food allergy.



Andrea White

As a graduate of Public Health and Policy, Andrea developed an interest in disease development, food and safety and the latest advancements in health. She is a Freelance writer who had affiliations with multiple blogs. Andrea is now pursuing her post-doctorate in Behavioral Sciences.

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