Milk allergy is an abnormal response by the body's immune system to milk and products containing milk. Cow's milk is the usual cause of milk allergy, but milk from sheep, goats and buffalo also can cause a reaction. Some children who are allergic to cow's milk are allergic to soy milk, too. Milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children.
A milk allergy usually occurs minutes to hours after consuming milk. Signs and symptoms of milk allergy range from mild to severe and can include wheezing, vomiting, hives and digestive problems. Rarely, milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis — a severe, life-threatening reaction.
Avoidance is the primary treatment for milk allergy. Fortunately, most children outgrow a milk allergy by age 3.
Aug. 11, 2011
- Atopic and allergic disorders. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec13/ch165/ch165c.html?qt=milk allergy&alt=sh. Accessed June 5, 2011.
- Food allergy: An overview. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodallergy/documents/foodallergy.pdf. Accessed June 5, 2011.
- Sicherer SH. Food allergens: Overview of clinical features and crossreactivity. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 2, 2011.
- Tips to remember: Food allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/tips/foodallergy.stm. Accessed June 5, 2011.
- Schneider Chafen JJ, et al. Diagnosing and managing common food allergies: A systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2010;303:1848.
- Du Toit G, et al. Identifying and managing cow's milk protein allergy. Archives of Disease in Childhood: Education and Practice Edition. 2010:95:134.