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When a person experiences allergic reaction to food items containing milk and milk products then it means the person is suffering from milk allergy. It is a very common food allergy amongst children. Usually cow’s milk causes allergic reactions. However other animals like sheep, buffalo and goat’s milk can also lead to allergies. Symptoms of dairy allergy could be diarrhea, vomiting, wheezing and anaphylaxis, which is fatal. The best way to treat milk allergy is to avoid contact with food items containing milk.

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Causes for milk allergy

Some of the causes of milk allergy are as follows:

  • Hereditary: If parents are suffering from allergies then there is high risk of developing milk allergy.
  • Age: Children have less strong immune and digestive system and therefore milk allergy is very common in kids. However with time most of them overcome this allergy.

Dairy Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person. For some symptoms appear within few minutes after consuming milk or its product whereas for some it may take hours. Some of the common symptoms of milk allergy:

  • Wheezing
  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Loose stool containing blood
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Hives or rashes or inflammation of the skin
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting or feeling nauseated
  • Runny nose
  • Acne
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Colic in babies.
  • Anaphylaxis: Milk allergy may sometimes lead to fatal reactions known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis may also show other symptoms including the above mentioned symptoms. They are as follows:
  • Pain in chest or tightness
  • Low blood pressure, shock
  • Tightness or swelling of the throat
  • Itchy feeling
  • Severe difficulty in breathing
  • Pale, blue skin color

Dairy Allergy Symptoms in adults

Milk allergy or dairy allergy usually affects kids under the age of 4, but in some cases, even adults can develop dairy allergy.  There is a difference between milk allergy and lactose (milk) intolerance.

An allergic reaction to dairy product is if the body reacts to milk as if it is a foreign substance, this is autoimmune in nature. Milk intolerance is if the digestive system of the person is not able to process the lactose, or the milk protein.

In adults, dairy allergy symptoms are as under -

Hives-  These are itchy, red bumps on the skin, which spring up immediately or within minutes of consuming milk.

Wheezing and/or coughing -  These and a few other respiratory symptoms accompany dairy allergy symptoms in adults. One does not experience respiratory symptoms in case of milk intolerance.

Abdominal pain or cramping –  Diarrhea without or with blood, vomiting, abdominal cramping are symptoms that are witnessed in dairy allergy as well as in lactose intolerance in adults

Rash on the face- Runny nose, facial rashes and watery eyes are also the symptoms of dairy allergy in adults.


Dairy Allergy Treatment

When a person suffers from anaphylaxis then one has to consult the medical expert immediately. If a person is already an anaphylaxis patient then that person should always carry two doses of epinephrine drug. The 2nd dose is for emergency. In an emergency it is advisable to phone up 911 or the respective emergency number. Antihistamines drug reduces symptoms of milk allergy. It is taken to control allergic reactions and helps in relieving uneasiness.

Other steps to keep away from exposure to milk and ensure quick treatment for sudden milk allergy are as follows:

  • Information: Children are usually affected by milk allergies. Therefore school authorities namely principal, teachers and other respective people should be informed in advance about the milk allergy, its symptoms and how to use the drugs. Also they should know to call the emergency care in serious case. Parents should also ensure that the child carries the drugs to school. Other family friends and relatives should also be informed about the allergy.
  • One can wear medical identification bracelet (in case of serious anaphylaxis) that explains the allergy and need for emergency care.
  • One should read the food labels carefully and shop in stores that provide milk-free alternative food items. Also one should be very careful when eating in hotels. The person should clearly inform the hotel staff about the allergy.
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