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The leading cause of allergic reactions in very young children and one of the most common allergy-causing foods in children is the milk of cow. The signs and symptoms of milk allergy can be serious enough to cause distress not just for an allergic child, but also for the child's family. Worldwide, about 2% to 3% of infants are affected by milk allergy. Most children outgrow a milk allergy by age 2 or 3.
Though in some cases it can be days before signs and symptoms of this condition occur, allergic reactions occur a few minutes to a few hours after one consumes milk. Vomiting, digestive problems, wheezing and hives can be included in the signs and symptoms that range from mild to severe. In rare cases, milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis, which is a severe and life-threatening reaction.
Prepared by: Scientific Section
The signs and symptoms of milk allergy occur within a few minutes to a few hours after ingesting milk and they differ from one person to another. In rare cases, infants have an allergic reaction to small amounts of cow's milk protein passed through their mother's breast milk. In some cases, reactions to a milk allergy develop after exposure to milk for an extended period of time.
An immune system malfunction is the cause of all food allergies. Triggering the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to neutralize the protein (allergen), certain milk proteins are identified by the immune system as harmful. These IgE antibodies recognize these proteins and signal the immune system to release histamine and other chemicals the next time one comes in contact with these proteins. A range of allergic signs and symptoms are caused by histamine and other body chemicals. Dry throat, diarrhea, anaphylactic shock, runny nose, labored breathing, rashes, hives, itchy eyes and nausea are included in the allergic responses that histamine is partly responsible for.
Certain other health problems are more likely to develop in children who are allergic to milk, such as:
Avoiding milk and milk proteins altogether is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction, but because milk is a common food ingredient, this can be difficult.
Samir Moussa M.D.
Yaser Habrawi , F.R.C.S.Ed
Dr. Samer Al-Jneidy
Dr. Tahsin Martini
Dr . Dirar Abboud
Dr. Hani Najjar
Dr. Talal Sabouni
Dr. Faisal Dibsi