What are the signs and symptoms of a milk allergy

What are the signs and symptoms of a milk allergy

An allergic reaction to dairy products may cause immediate effects or a delayed reaction after consuming milk. There are a number of diverse symptoms that can develop.

Common effects of a milk allergy can include any of the following:

  1. Abdominal pain and discomfort
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Blood-streaked stools
  4. Vomiting
  5. Nasal allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose and watery eyes
  6. Digestive problems
  7. Eczema itchy, red patches on the skin
  8. Pain when swallowing
  9. Hives
  10. Asthma symptoms, such as wheezing

Milk Allergies in Infants

Babies don't own the ability to complain, so manifestations of a milk allergy can be hard to recognize.

A kid might be fussy, irritable, and weep. Because babies eat every few hours, it is always clear that the symptoms are related to eating.

Children may eventually experience weight loss due to digestive problems, vomiting, and diarrhea. Hold track of your baby's weight gain—stagnating weight or weight loss is typically described as failure to thrive, which is a serious problem that can affect a baby's development for the endless term.


Generally, milk allergies are not life-threatening.

But some children experience own severe reactions to milk.

Signs of a milk allergy-induced medical emergency include:

  1. Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  2. Swelling around the mouth or lips
  3. Anaphylaxis


If you or your kid has a milk allergy, dairy products can trigger your allergies by activating your immune system. Milk is present in a number of diverse foods, such as butter, cheese, ice cream, pudding, yogurt, custards, candies, sauces, granola bars, and protein powders.

Many foods may not list milk as an ingredient, but clearly state that they contain lactic yeast, ghee, whey, curd, or casein—all of which are made from milk.

Keep in mind that even flavored foods, such as butter-flavored popcorn or chocolate-flavored desserts, may contain some milk.

Similarly, dairy substitutes, such as artificial cheese or margarine, may contain milk as well.

Surprise sources of milk can include deli slicers, which are used to cut meats and cheese. And breaded foods love meat, vegetables (like tempura), and seafood may be dipped in milk.

There are several physiological mechanisms that facilitate an allergic reaction to milk.

Immunoglobulin E (IgE)- Mediated Milk Allergy

IgE is a type of antibody produced by your immune system. These antibodies activate immune cells and cause them to release histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation.

Symptoms of classic IgE mediated food allergies typically appear within minutes of eating, and can include skin reactions, respiratory problems, or digestive issues.

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

FPIES is a severe, systemic reaction to food that generally develops in infants within the first months of life.

It is often described as food intolerance, rather than an allergy.

Infants can develop this reaction from breastmilk or from some types of formula.

What are the signs and symptoms of a milk allergy

It may also include a reaction to other foods besides milk, such as fruit, vegetables, potatoes, and/or seafood. FPIES is also common to soy-based formulas, and 40% of children with milk-induced FPIES will also react to soy.

This type of reaction generally causes digestive issues, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and blood-streaked stools. It rarely causes systemic shock, which is characterized by extremely low blood pressure, heart failure, loss of consciousness, and is life-threatening.

Children generally grow out of FPIES by age three.

What Really Happens to Your Body When You Own a Food Intolerance?

Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders

Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that is typically present in low numbers in the digestive tract.

With an eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorder (EGID), these cells multiply, and they may attack the body when exposed to an allergy trigger.

Eosinophilic gastrointestinal (GI) disorders include:

  1. Eosinophilic esophagitis, EoE, (eosinophils are primarily located in the esophagus)
  2. Eosinophilic gastroenteritis (eosinophils are primarily located in the stomach and little intestine)
  3. Eosinophilic gastritis (eosinophils are primarily located in the stomach)
  4. Eosinophilic colitis (eosinophils are primarily located in the colon)

Symptoms of eosinophilic GI disorders may include trouble eating, diarrhea, and failure to thrive.


Rates of dairy allergy vary widely in diverse parts of the world.

For example, the prevalence of dairy allergies in diverse countries is:

  1. United States: 1% to % of children under 6
  2. Israel: less than 1% of children
  3. Australia: More than 10% of one-year-olds

It is not clear why there are such diverse regional rates of dairy allergies.

There may be a genetic component contributing to the development of dairy allergies, but there is no single gene that has been found to be responsible.

Milk Allergy Management

Avoidance of foods and drinks containing milk protein is the only sure-fire way to manage milk allergies.

What are the signs and symptoms of a milk allergy

People with milk allergies and parents of children with this allergy must carefully read every ingredient labels.

Luckily for allergy sufferers, milk is one of the allergens that own specific labeling requirements thanks to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of This law requires every food sold in the US to clearly identify and label whether milk or milk products (or other specific allergens) are included in their foods.

Some milk allergic people can tolerate foods containing milk that own been cooked or extensively heated.

Your allergy specialist can assist determine whether you or your kid can tolerate milk in baked goods or if every milk products should be avoided.

For infants with milk allergies, your pediatrician or pediatric allergy specialist can assist you determine the most effective baby formula to give your baby.


It can be hard to know whether your kid has a dairy allergy or whether they own another illness, such as digestive issues or a GI infection.

Before your child's scheduled appointment with a pediatrician or allergist, it helps to hold a food diary and record your baby's symptoms.

Along with a medical history and your child's physical examination, several methods are used to diagnose milk allergies.

Oral Food Challenge

A common way of identifying food allergies is with a food challenge. This is a test in which you would eliminate milk from your child's diet for a few weeks, and then a little quantity of milk would be introduced in the doctor's office to observe your child's reaction.

An oral food challenge is the most dependable way to identify FPIES, and it is also used in the diagnosis of IgE mediated dairy allergies and EGIDs.

Blood Test

A blood test can identify high levels of immune cells and IgE, which may be suggestive of an allergy.

However, EGIDs and FPIES may be associated with high levels of inflammatory cells, but not necessarily with high levels of IgE.

Skin Prick Test

A skin prick test, also commonly called a scratch test, involves placing a sample of milk on the skin. A skin reaction within 15 minutes is indicative of a milk allergy. However, because milk allergies are triggered by eating dairy rather than by touching milk, a negative reaction (no reaction) does not law out a milk allergy.

Endoscopy and Colonoscopy

EGIDs may cause changes in the digestive organs, which can be seen with interventional tests such as endoscopy or colonoscopy.

What are the signs and symptoms of a milk allergy

Endoscopy is a test in which a tube with a camera is placed in the mouth to glance at the upper parts of the digestive system, while colonoscopy is a test in which a tube with a camera is placed in the rectum to observe the colon.

Milk Allergy Symptoms and Diagnosis

When a person has a milk allergy, they may exhibit the following signs and symptoms within a short period of consuming milk or dairy products:

  1. Upset stomach or gastrointestinal discomfort
  2. Vomiting
  3. Bloody stools—this is especially common with infants
  4. Hives (urticaria)
  5. Anaphylaxis—a rare but potentially life-threatening reaction that affects breathing and can lead to shock, and eventually death in extreme cases.

If you or your kid experiences any of these symptoms, be certain to see an allergist.

If you or your kid suffers an anaphylactic reaction seek emergency medical care immediately. It is likely that the emergency room doctor will recommend you consult with an allergy specialist to prevent future reactions.

Allergists are the food allergy experts. So if you suspect you own a milk allergy you should make an appointment with an allergy specialist to discuss your concerns.

What are the signs and symptoms of a milk allergy

At your appointment a detailed personal history will be taken, including the foods you typically eat, symptoms you experience, how endless the symptoms lasted and what, if anything, you did to alleviate the symptoms.

In most cases your allergies will be diagnosed by either skin-prick test or a simple blood test.

For the skin-prick test, a little spot on your forearm or upper back will be lightly pricked with a little toothpick-like device containing a tiny quantity of milk protein extract. If you own a milk allergy you should develop a little hive where your skin was pricked—this generally happens within minutes.

With the blood test, a blood sample taken and tested for the presence of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.

These are antibodies produced by your body in response to an allergen. The blood test results will be reported as a numerical worth. The higher the number, the more likely you are truly allergic to milk.


There is not a cure for milk allergies. The best management for every types of milk allergies and milk sensitivities is strict avoidance of dairy products. Since numerous infants develop milk allergies before being introduced to solid foods, your child's doctor may prescribe a

Heiner syndrome is a type of milk intolerance.

It is not an allergy, and it manifests with coughing, ear infections, spitting blood, and/or weight loss.

Since there is a possibility of a severe reaction, oral food challenge should only be done in a medical setting.

Avoidance of milk or items containing milk products is the only way to manage a milk allergy. People who are allergic to milk and the parents of children who own this allergy must read ingredient labels extremely carefully.

Milk is one of eight allergens with specific labeling requirements under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of That law requires manufacturers of packaged food products sold in the U.S.

and containing milk as an ingredient to include the presence of milk or milk products, in clear language, on the ingredient label.

There are two main types of milk protein — casein and whey. Casein, the “solid” part of milk, comprises about 80 percent of milk protein. Whey proteins, found in the liquid part of milk, make up the other 20 percent. Milk proteins are found in numerous foods, including every dairy products, and in numerous places where they might not be expected. For example, some canned tuna, sausage, meats and other nondairy products may contain casein. Beverage mixes and body-building and energy drinks commonly contain whey. Milk protein has also been found in some chewing gum.

Some companies may voluntarily include information that their food products “may contain traces of milk” or that they are manufactured in a facility that also processes milk, though such advisory statements are not required by law.

Allergies to food (including milk) are the most common causes of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

Symptoms include swelling of the airways, impairing the ability to breathe, and a sudden drop in blood pressure, causing dizziness and fainting. An allergist will advise patients with a food allergy to carry an auto-injector containing epinephrine (adrenaline), which is the only treatment for anaphylactic shock, and will teach the patient how to use it.

What are the signs and symptoms of a milk allergy

If a kid has the allergy, teachers and caregivers should be made aware of his or her condition as well.

Some people with this allergy can tolerate foods containing milk that has been extensively heated, such as a baked muffin. Still, people with an allergy to milk protein should consult an allergist before determining whether they should completely avoid milk and other dairy products.

Milk is a fairly simple ingredient to substitute in recipes. Most recipes calling for milk can be just as successful by substituting the equivalent in water, juice, or soy or rice milk.

If your baby is allergic to milk, talk to your pediatrician about which formula to use. Often, an extensively hydrolyzed elemental formula or a casein-hydrolysate formula is recommended for milk allergy in infants, as the proteins in these formulas own been extensively broken below.

What are the signs and symptoms of a milk allergy

Alternatively, your infant’s doctor may recommend a soy-based formula.

Milk allergy is one of the more common food allergies and affects numerous people. It’s a result of an abnormal immune response to the constituent parts of the milk from any animal (the most common allergy response is due to alpha S1-casein, a protein in cows milk).

Milk-induced allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and can lead to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Milk allergies are believed to affect up to 3 percent of children under the age of 3.

Although it was once believed that these allergies would be quickly outgrown, numerous recent studies own challenged that notion. One study found that less than 20 percent of children with milk allergies had outgrown their allergy by their 4th birthday. There is hope for milk allergy sufferers though: approximately 80 percent of children do outgrow their allergy by mid-adolescence.

As one of the most common food allergies, people with an allergy to cow’s milk should also be aware there is a excellent chance they may also be allergic to milk from other animals, including sheep’s and goat’s milk products.