Milk allergy is a very common food allergy in the US, particularly among children. Indeed, experts estimate that 2-3% of children younger than three are allergic to milk. Still, roughly 80% of them outgrow it by 16. While milk allergy is common, milk allergy symptoms vary. It is important to learn about milk allergy if you suspect you have milk allergy symptoms. Here’s what you need to know.
About Milk Allergy Symptoms
It is important to note that milk allergy and lactose intolerance are two different things that should not be confused. Those who are lactose intolerant are missing the lactase enzyme which breaks down lactose (a sugar found in dairy products). Given the lack of this enzyme, those who are lactose intolerant have difficulty digesting milk and dairy products. They may experience symptoms such as gas, bloating, nausea, cramps and diarrhea. Lactose intolerance is uncomfortable, but not life-threatening.
A milk allergy, on the other hand, is an overreaction of the immune system. This overreaction results in a range of milk allergy symptoms ranging from mild (swelling, redness, itching, hives) to severe (anaphylaxis). A milk allergy, in rare circumstances, can even be fatal. It should be taken seriously. The best way to handle a milk allergy is to pursue treatment and prevention under the supervision of a professional.
Common Milk Allergy Symptoms
A milk allergy can result in different milk allergy symptoms each time. The most likely milk allergy symptoms to occur immediately hives, wheezing and vomiting. Other symptoms that may occur include runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, itchy skin, coughing or wheezing, and abdominal cramps. Anaphylaxis can also occur. Anaphylaxis involves the constriction of airways, facial flushing, difficulty breathing, swelling and shock. It is a medical emergency that demands immediate attention.