Cow’s milk can cause cow protein allergy in infants.
According to the international journal, Archives of Disease in Childhood, 5 to 15 percent of infants have “adverse reactions to cow’s milk protein,” or an intolerance to milk products. The percentage of infants who have an actual cow’s milk protein allergy varies from 2 to 7.5 percent.
Any product made with milk can cause an allergic reaction
Even babies who are breast fed can develop this allergy when they are introduced to milk products like ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese and other foods made from milk. A milk protein allergy is often overlooked and causes unnecessary elimination diets for infants in some cases.
Reactions to cow protein can cause a wide range of symptoms
This food allergy can cause symptoms that range from mild to serious reactions that are life-threatening. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two proteins in cow’s milk that can cause an allergic reaction. These are casein – found in the solid curd of the milk – and whey – the liquid portion of milk that remains after the milk curdles. People who have a cow protein allergy can be allergic to one or both of these proteins.
Symptoms of a milk allergy
Most people who are allergic to milk have an allergic reaction right after eating a milk product. They may develop hives or start wheezing. Vomiting is also a common reaction that occurs right after drinking milk or eating a milk product. There are more symptoms that can develop after some time that include diarrhea, sometimes with blood, runny nose, watery eyes, coughing or wheezing, or itching around the mouth. Babies may develop colic. Anaphylaxis, a life-threating allergic reaction, is very rare, but it can occur and requires immediate emergency medical treatment if the person has trouble breathing.
A true cow protein allergy involves the immune system.
When a cow protein allergy is suspected, your doctor will often perform a blood test to determine if antibodies are present. If so, they point to the fact that a true cow protein allergy exists. A skin test is sometimes used in which tiny amounts of milk protein are placed under the skin. If an allergy exists the person develops a hive in that area. Cow protein allergy can lead to other complications, including developing allergies to eggs, soy, or a peanut allergy. Some people also develop a beef allergy and hay fever that causes them to be affected by pet dander, dust mites, grass pollen, or to other things.
If you or your child are allergic to cow protein, your doctor will help you change your diet.
Since there is no cure for cow protein allergy, changes in diet are the only way to avoid having allergic reactions. Infants are often changed to rice or soy formula, and older children and adults must also avoid milk and milk products. Your allergist will help you substitute foods for milk and milk products. Although milk intolerance is not an allergy, it can cause some of the same symptoms as a milk allergy, such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and more. Allergy testing is the only way to determine whether the health problems caused when you or your child eat cow protein are an allergy or an intolerance.