Facts you should know about milk allergy symptoms

November 12, 2012

Facts you should know about milk allergy symptoms

Milk allergies occur when are body’s react to the protein in cows milk. Milk allergy symptoms can be grouped into 3 categories and there are a number of hidden sources of milk in our diets that you may not be aware of.

Milk allergy overview

There are a number of substances that make up milk but most people are only allergic to one of them – the proteins. The other substances found in milk include water, carbohydrates, minerals, fats and other substances. When an individual suffers from a milk allergy it is their body reacting to the proteins as if they were a foreign substance that the body believe it needs to fight off. These proteins are also found in casein and whey. Anyone can develop a milk allergy at any age, however it is most commonly found in children. It is believed that approximately 3% of infants suffer from milk allergies but most of them will grow out of it. Adults can develop a milk allergy suddenly and for no apparent reason. Fortunately, similar as in the case of infants, adults too can stop reacting badly to milk as suddenly as they started. There is also evidence to support the theory that an individual with milk allergies are more likely to develop allergies to other foods. This is true in around 50% of all cases of milk allergies. Not only this but they are also more likely to develop allergies to inhalant allergens such as dust mites, pets and pollens.

Milk allergy symptoms

Milk allergy symptoms can be split up into 3 different categories where the onset of symptoms takes a varying amount of time in each category. In type I the onset of symptoms is very quick, following consumption of cow’s milk. The symptoms primarily affect the skin causing eczema or hives. The symptoms in type II occur a little slower and make take a couple of hours after consuming cow’s milk to appear. Milk allergy symptoms in this type include diarrhoea and vomiting. Milk allergy symptoms in type III often take more than 20 hours to appear and will primarily be diarrhoea. Further milk allergy symptoms that can sometimes develop include:

  • Hyperactive behaviour

  • Asthma

  • Hives

  • Runny nose

  • Rashes

  • Stuffy nose

  • Ear infections

  • Failure to thrive

  • Recurrent bronchitis

  • Eczema

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Allergic shiners

These milk allergy symptoms are similar in many kinds of allergies. Therefore the presence of these symptoms doesn’t guarantee that the individual is suffering from an allergic reaction to milk but could be suffering from an allergy to something else.

Hidden sources of milk in our diet

There are a number of foods or food products that may contain milk without you realising. Anyone who suffers from milk allergy symptoms should take extra care to read the ingredients included in products. Some foods that sometimes contain milk include:

  • Powdered milk

  • Evaporated milk

  • Butter

  • Ghee

  • Cheese

  • Margarines

  • Ice Cream

  • Lunch meats

  • Deserts

  • Pancakes

  • Waffles

  • Mashed potatoes

  • Croutons

  • Malts

  • Granolas

  • Breading on fried foods

Increasing calcium intake

As milk is one of the common ways we get calcium into our diets, individuals who are allergic will have to find alternative sources. There are calcium supplements available but there are also other foods that are rich in calcium such as leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, seafood, enriched soymilk, baked beans and almonds.

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