Milk Allergies Can Make Life Miserable for Kids And Parents

Milk Allergies Can Make Life Miserable for Kids and ParentsMilk allergies are some of the most common food allergies, striking thousands of children every year.  Unlike lactose intolerance, there are specific allergy symptoms involved that usually manifest themselves within minutes to hours after drinking milk.  While these symptoms are generally not severe, they can be quite uncomfortable and unpleasant.

While cow’s milk is the most common allergy trigger, some children can also develop an allergy to goats, sheep’s or buffalo milk. This makes substitution with another type of milk impractical.  Even soy milk, which is often used as an alternative for allergic individuals, may not work as some children can also develop an allergy to soy.

There is a distinct difference between milk allergies and lactose intolerance.  An allergy to milk most often affects children whose digestive systems are not fully developed.  Lactose intolerance is a negative reaction of the digestive system to a protein found in milk.  Intolerance can develop at any age and usually results in digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea after drinking milk or eating dairy products.

According to the Mayo Clinic milk allergy symptoms, which can differ from person to personand occur anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours after drinking milk or eating milk products.

Immediate signs and symptoms of milk allergy might include:

  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Itching or tingling feeling around the lips or mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • Coughing or shortness of breath
  • Vomiting

Signs and symptoms that may take more time to develop include:

  • Loose stools or diarrhea, which may contain blood
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Colic, in babies

In some rare cases, an allergy to milk may cause anaphylaxis, a severe reaction that can cause the individual to stop breathing.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent milk allergies short of avoiding all milk and milk products.  This can be particularly difficult as milk is a common ingredient in many processed foods and recipes.

You may need to be extra vigilant, paying close attention to product labels and asking about food content when you are eating in a restaurant.  A little extra caution now can prevent a lot of heartache for you and your child.

While there are some risk factors for developing food allergies, including a genetic predisposition and the tendency to have other allergies, it may be impossible to know for sure that your child is allergic until he ingests milk.  Some experts believe that breastfeeding rather than using a cow’s milk formula for the first four months of life can help to reduce a child’s risk of developing an allergy to milk.

The good news on milk allergies is that they are often reduced or even eliminated entirely as the child grows.  As they are exposed to more types of food, their digestive system can develop more tolerance and symptoms will naturally abate.

In the meantime, there are medications such as antihistamines that can be used to treat symptoms of an allergic attack.  If your child has a tendency to experience anaphylaxis, you should equip him with an epinephrine pen for emergency use.

Food allergies, such as those involving milk and dairy products, can be an uncomfortable fact of life for many children and adults, but they don’t have to take over your life.  With the proper precautions, the allergy sufferer can live a full and productive life, free of symptoms.

Wishing you the best of health

The Allergy Store – Helping customers since 1989

800 771-2246

Extreme Allergy Control – Taking it Beyond the Limit

Talk about extreme allergy control! I was shocked to read today about a lady in Toronto that has asked her community to cut down the oak trees next to the school because her two children have nut allergies.
That’s right, nut allergies.  You can read the entire article here Mother Wants Trees Cut Down.
At first I thought there must be a mistake.  Why would you cut down oak trees because of nut allergies?  Unless your children think they are squirrels, they aren’t going to be eating the acorns.  Did she mistakenly believe that the acorns could be inhaled and make her children sick?  What kind of uninformed extreme allergy control measure could this be?
No, turns out not only does she know better, she is the head of the school’s Allergy Committee.  She is afraid that the acorns could be used to “bully and torment children”.  Bully and torment with acorns?  If this is her greatest fear, then she needs a serious reality check.
I’m a Mom.  I understand protecting your children.  Honestly, I tried to protect my kids even if I did let them drink out of the water hose and make mud pies.  I tried to protect them from real and present dangers.  Look both ways before you cross the street.  Swim in pairs.  Wear your helmet when you ride your bike.  Don’t take candy from strangers.  Don’t take candy from people you know unless it is chocolate and you are going to share with Mom.
My kids had allergies and I tried to control their exposure as much as possible.  Some people might think I used extreme allergy control measures because I had no carpeting in my home and ran air cleaners in each bedroom. But that doesn’t mean that I asked people to remove the carpeting from their house lest someone bully my child by rubbing their face in the carpet.
Let’s just be reasonable, shall we?
Til Next Time!

Avoid Ticks – Here’s Another Reason

We know ticks carry disease.  If you live in the Southeastern United States, you know to avoid ticks.  You are particularly aware of the risks of Lyme disease as well as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  (As an aside, why do they call it “Rocky Mountain” when you are more apt to find it in the Appalachian or other eastern mountains and not the Rockies? But I digress).

Well, researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia (Susan Wolver, MD, Diane Sun, MD, and others) have discovered another reason to avoid ticks. Their research indicates that the bite of a Lone Star tick (named for the spot on its middle, not its location in the Lone Star state) can cause subsequent anaphylaxis when eating red meat.

What is even more interesting is that the IgE antibodies are as a result of the carbohydrate alpha-gal.  This is the first time a carbohydrate as been identified as an allergy trigger.  All other triggers are proteins.  Further complicating matters, these people have a negative skin prick test to meat. This makes making a diagnosis even more difficult.  As if diagnosis weren’t tricky enough, the symptoms occur between three to six hours after exposure, much longer than usual for food allergy.  All because you forgot to avoid ticks!

Read all about it here in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

If you are outside in wooded areas or fields, be sure to check carefully when you come inside for ticks.  Ticks like to hide in folds of skin.  They should be removed so that the entire tick is removed, and the head is not left behind.  But of course you know this, you just didn’t know the link between tick bites and allergy to red meat. That is until now.  Yet another reason to avoid ticks.

Until next time!