Dairy Allergies and What to do About Them
Food allergy or hypersensitivity refers to the abnormal allergic reaction of the body’s immune system to a usually harmless food such as milk, eggs, peanuts, and fish. Food allergens that cause allergic reactions are usually proteins and this can cause adverse effects even if cooked or have been digested. Dairy allergens include milk and milk proteins that are found in cows, sheep, goat, and other grazing mammals that produce milk. Milk allergy symptoms may differ from person to person and it sometimes occur a few minutes to a few hours after ingestion. Principal symptoms are mostly respiratory, gastrointestinal and dermatological. After consuming milk, some symptoms may immediately surface like hives, vomiting and wheezing. In some cases, signs and symptoms may take longer period of time to develop such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, itchy skin rash and loose stools, which may contain blood. For babies, colic also surfaces much longer than most symptoms thus parents should be more alert for signs of milk allergy. Rarely, milk allergies can trigger anaphylaxis, which is a severe reaction that can be life-threatening. It is best to consult your doctor even if there is only mild reaction. This is to avoid potentially worse reaction in the future and also to know the steps in avoiding its recurrence.
Difference between milk allergy and lactose intolerance
Dairy allergy is a food allergy, wherein the body’s immune system causes an overreaction on dairy products. An allergic reaction may include mild to severe symptoms such as rashes, hives and swelling. It can also cause anaphylaxis that can be life-threatening. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand is a food intolerance that is not connected with the immune system. Those who are lactose-intolerant may experience an inability to digest foods, nausea, cramps, bloating and diarrhea. It can cause great discomfort but not fatal.
Managing dairy allergy
Since there is no cure for daily allergy at this time, it is recommended to avoid products with milk and milk proteins altogether and be prepared in overcoming any future allergic reactions. It can be really difficult to avoid milk since it is a common ingredient in many foods. Here are some tips in helping you to live well even with dairy allergies:
Try dairy substitutes - rice milk, soy milk and coconut milk are sometimes used dairy substitutes for older children and adults, while there are also...