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Understanding Milk Allergies

Milk is very important part of the diet of infants and children. Milk provides both calcium and vitamin D which are essential for the growth and development of children. It is well understood that if infants and children do not have enough milk they will have serious health problems. From the time a person is born they begin to consume either mother’s milk or other forms of milk. Mother’s milk and formula both are made to provide all the essential nutrients an infant needs to grow and develop normally. Sometimes it becomes evident very early in the life of an infant that they have a problem with the milk they are receiving and may even be allergic to milk. This condition will need quick intervention to make sure the baby is not adversely affected.

Milk allergy can often confused with lactose intolerance, which is the inability to digest the sugar lactose. A milk allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly tries to fight off the protein found in milk. Casein and whey are the two main protein trigger allergins found in milk. The curd that forms when milk is left to sour, is called casein. The watery part which is left after the curd is removed, is called whey. People of all ages have milk allergies, but they are more common among infants. Approximately 2% to 3% of infants have a milk allergy, and typically it goes away on its own by the time a child is 3 to 5 years old. Mothers that are breastfeeding an infant that has a milk allergy, should restrict the amount of dairy products that they ingest because the milk protein can cross into the breast milk.

Milk Allergy Symptoms The symptoms of a milk protein allergy fall into 3 types of reactions: Skin Reactions: Itchy red rash, Hives, Eczema, Allergic "Shiners" (black eyes), Swelling of lips, mouth, tongue, face or throat.

Stomach and Intestinal Reactions: Abdominal pain and bloating, Diarrhoea (usually very runny), Vomiting, Flatulence, Cramping

Nose, Throat and Lung Reactions: Runny Nose, Sneezing, Watery and/or Itchy eyes,Coughing, Wheezing, Shortness of Breath,

Living With a Milk Allergy

If you suffer from a milk allergy, strictly avoiding milk and foods containing milk and milk products is the only way to prevent a reaction, which can include bloating, abdominal cramps, flatulence, diarrhea, or constipation. But, it is not always easy to avoid these foods since many unsuspecting products contain milk or milk products.

Always check the label ingredients before you use a product. In addition, check the label each time you use the product. Manufacturers occasionally change recipes, and a trigger food may be added to the new recipe. Here are some examples of milk products and foods that may contain milk along with a list of milk substitutes.

Interventions For Milk Allergies In Infants

The best thing a baby can be fed is their mother’s milk. Most of the time when they are nursed by there mother they will have less allergies. Some of the times what the mother is eating causes problems for the baby. If a baby seems to be allergic to their mother’s milk the mother should first change her diet. She should avoid gas producing foods and foods which may be irritating to the infant. If this does not relieve the symptoms in the baby the mother should speak with the pediatrician and consider switching to formula.

There are two primary formulas for infants. There is cow milk based and soy based formula. Many infants who are allergic to cow’s milk will do great on soy milk. Both these types of formulas have the necessary ingredients to promote good health in the infant. If these types of milk do not work for the infant, a physician will need to prescribe a formula that will be able to nourish the infant that has the milk allergy. Most infants will grow out of the milk allergy in time and will be able to eat a normal diet.

Children With Milk Allergies

Some babies do not overcome their allergy to milk and as the child grows it becomes a more complex issue. Children with milk allergies will have many foods to avoid as they grow up. Milk is an ingredient in many products and even small amounts can sometimes cause an allergic reaction. Parents will need to learn what food products to avoid and will in turn need to teach their child. Because the Food and Drug Administration requires all ingredients to be listed on produced food it is easier for a parent to figure out which foods may cause a problem.

Anaphylaxis is more common in other food allergies than in a milk allergy. If you suspect that your infant is allergic to milk, call your baby's doctor.

Milk Dairy Containing Products - Milk and milk solids, Non-fat, skim milk, or powdered milk, Buttermilk Evaporated milk, Yogurt, Cream, cream cheese, sour cream, Cheese, cheese powder, or cheese sauce, Butter, butter fat, artificial butter flavoring, curds, Whey and whey products, Cottage cheese

Foods Containing Milk Ingredients- Cake and cake mixes, Chocolate and cream candy, Donuts, Coffee creamersCreamed or scalloped foods, Mashed potatoes, Custards, Ice cream and sherbetMalted milk, Some Margarines (check the label), Puddings, White sauces, Salad dressings.



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