Milk allergy occurs when our body's immune system responds abnormally to one of the proteins present in milk and cause symptoms due to the allergic reaction. Cow's milk is the primary cause of milk allergy in young children. However, the allergy can also be from the milk of goats, sheep, buffalo or other mammals.
Milk contains two types of protein - casein and whey. The solid part of milk is known as casein which comprises almost 80% of milk protein while whey, the liquid part of milk, contains the remaining 20% of milk protein. Other food and food products like sausage, chewing gum, body-building drinks, meats, energy drinks and tuna may contain casein .
According to the epidemiology of milk allergy, 65% of the total population worldwide are allergic to milk during their infancy but later, outgrows it before they reach the age 16. The allergic reaction starts usually when our immune system thinks that the proteins in milk are some harmful invaders and so, reacts to it quicky by releasing a chemical called histamine . Other foods that may cause such reactions are eggs, peanuts, fish, soy and shellfish.Symptoms Of Milk Allergy
Milk allergy differs from individual to individual. In some people, the symptoms last for a few minutes while in others, it may cause trouble for an hour or days. Common symptoms of milk allergy are as follows :
There are certain proteins present in milk which act as foreign material to the immune system. Milk allergy is a response of the body's immune system to such protein types found in milk. The symptoms of allergy occur immediately or later.
When the immune system malfunctions, some of the proteins found in milk are recognized as foreign material and harmful to the body. So, to neutralize them, the body triggers the release of an antibody called immunoglobin (IgE) .
Next time, when the same person comes in contact with the milk protein, the IgE antibodies released prior, recognizes it and produces a range of chemicals like histamine which causes symptoms like sneezing, itching and runny nose.
According to medical experts, a child with a milk allergy is allergic to either one or both the proteins found in milk. If these proteins are added to some processed foods, they can also cause allergic reactions to a person.Risk Factors Of Milk Allergy
The risk factors of milk allergy are as follows:
Family history: If there's a history of milk allergy in your family or your parents are allergic to milk, the chances are higher than the children too, may get affected by the same .
Other allergies: If a person has some other kind of allergies like soy and almond allergy, there's an increased chance that they will be affected by milk.
Atopic dermatitis: If a person is suffering from the red and itchy skin called atopic dermatitis, they are likely to get food allergy .
Age: Children are more likely to get milk allergy but as people age, the digestive system matures and so, children who are allergic to milk are less likely to react to it .Complications Of Milk Allergy
The complications of milk allergy include:
The diagnosis is carried out by the following processes.
If the above-mentioned tests fail, the doctor will suspect for some other kind of allergies rather than milk allergy.Treatment Of Milk Allergy
The best treatment for milk allergy is avoiding milk and all milk-based products. People who have milk allergy should properly check the ingredients labelled in the product and then consume it.
Usually, doctors will advise the patient with a milk allergy to keep an adrenaline auto-injector for an extreme allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock). In case, when the child has a milk allergy, his/her teachers and caregivers should be aware of the condition. Carrying over-the-counter antihistamine is also a good idea for allergic people .Tips To Deal With Milk Allergy
While buying any food product, it is hard for people to recognise milk in it as the ingredients do not contain the word 'milk' but other names of its form. The easiest ways to identify milk is by the following names: