What Is Milk Allergy?
It is an abnormal response by the body’s immune system to milk and the products that contain it. This type of allergy is more common in children, especially if they consume cow’s milk.
An allergic reaction usually occurs shortly after consuming milk and milk products, and symptoms of this type of allergy range from mild to severe.
This type of milk hypersensitivity affects especially young children and infants. It is believed that 2% of all children suffer from milk hypersensitivity.
This allergy disappears automatically with age in more than 70% of cases. The ability to tolerate milk begins to develop and appears at the age of one to three years, but it is also possible that this will happen in a later generation.
The allergy may occur to multiple types of milk :
- Cow’s milk allergy
- Almond milk allergy
- Soy milk allergy
- Rice milk allergy
- Breast milk allergy
Cow’s Milk Allergy
Usually, cow’s milk allergy begins to appear after a few months of a child’s life, and it is one of the most common types of food allergy in children, approximately 2% of children under the age of one year.
Cow’s milk is the usual cause of allergy, but milk from sheep, goats, and other mammals may cause the same immune response.
The allergic reaction often occurs after your child consumes milk or one of its products. So the first method of treatment is to avoid eating it.
Almond Milk Allergy
Tree nuts such as almonds, in addition to walnuts, cashews and others, are one of the most common food allergens, and unlike the cow’s milk allergy, which most children recover from at an early age, this type of allergy usually continues throughout life.
Soy Milk Allergy
Soy is one of the common foods that cause allergies, especially in children, and it occurs most frequently in infants.
Rice Milk Allergy
Rice is the least allergic grain, so many people prefer it to cow’s milk, and despite the rare development of this allergy, the number of people infected with it in Asian countries that use rice as the main dish has started to increase in recent years.
Breast Milk Allergy
Breast milk itself does not cause allergies to babies.
Breastfeeding is one of the most important ways to avoid and resist allergies, and breast milk provides the best food sources for the child, but the mother who drinks cow’s milk passes casein protein and whey protein to her child when breastfeeding, which may cause allergic reactions in children who suffer from cow’s milk allergy. .
Most doctors advise mothers to breastfeed their babies during the first six months of their life at least to help him avoid the development of different types of allergies, in addition to that milk allergy is detected early in children who are breastfed.
Milk Allergy Symptoms
Children with milk allergy have a slow reaction, which means that symptoms develop over time, from several hours to days later.
Where the following symptoms and signs appear :
Symptoms that appear immediately within seconds to hours of consuming milk include:
- Cough and shortness of breath.
- Itching and tingling sensation in the mouth and around the lips.
- Swelling of the lips and throat, as well as the tongue.
- Wheezing sound while breathing.
Symptoms that appear after a while include:
- Runny nose.
- Excessive secretion of tears from the lacrimal glands.
- Abdominal cramps.
- Diarrhea may be accompanied by blood and mucus.
- Continuous coughing intermittently.
- The appearance of a rash.
- Watery eyes
- Slow growth (gain of weight and height in children).
Milk allergy can be diagnosed based on the symptoms that may appear, in addition to, of course, a skin test, or a special blood test for milk allergy (according to the immunoglobulin (IgE) characteristic of this disease). But the skin test is considered the best examination, due to its accuracy, low cost, and quick results.
In some special (rare) cases and when there is a suspicion of an allergy, a challenge test can be performed, that is, eating limited quantities of milk and monitoring the person’s condition. Most infants with cow’s milk allergy also have a goat and sheep milk allergy. Most of those with these allergies consume plant-based milk (soy milk).
In infants with a type 2 allergy, a cow’s milk skin test result is usually negative, and the same is true for the blood test for milk allergy.
Healthy Alternatives To Milk
There are many healthy alternatives to milk that help adults and children with milk allergy to obtain their needs of different calories and nutrients, and in fact, be sure to check the labels on food products that they do not contain milk-based ingredients.
It should be noted here that it is necessary to ensure the nutritional choices of milk substitutes are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and here are the most important of these alternatives:
- Soy milk.
- Rice milk.
- Oat milk.
- Almond milk.
- Vegetable cheeses based on soy products.
What Is The Treatment?
(avoiding milk and its derivatives) comes primarily to prevent the symptoms of milk allergy and to ensure that other foodstuffs are free from them by reading their ingredients and using what is an alternative to them, such as using mother’s milk, for example if her child suffers from cow’s milk allergies.
Although there is no treatment to prevent a milk allergy, there are some medicines that help relieve symptoms, including:
In cases of hypersensitivity, that is, in emergency cases, the patient is given an injection of adrenaline and is under medical supervision.
The only way to avoid a milk allergy is to avoid consuming milk and dairy products.