Milk Allergy? Symptoms, Care Options

Milk Allergy Affects Half of Children Aged Under One in America

Milk is a staple beverage for infants and children, so it is surprising to find that almost 50% of kids in America are allergic to it. The research, published by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, established that although only 2% of kids aged under five have a milk allergy, around 53% of infants below the age of one, are allergic to cow’s milk. The study is important because of its size; it is based on surveys with over 50,000 parents across America. What steps can parents take to avoid the effects of allergy, without unnecessarily cutting out important foods for their child’s health?

Milk Allergies Tend to Fade

The good news for parents is that many children ‘lose’ their milk allergy as they grow older. Thus, only 15% of children aged 11 to 17 have milk allergies, indicating that resistance builds up over time. Researchers warn that any suspected allergies should be checked with an allergist, since if a diagnosis is made, important steps should be taken to improve a child’s quality of life.  Children will also need early instruction on what types of foods can contain milk, so they can make the right choices when they are away from home. The researchers also recommend that parents of allergic children should have an epinephrine auto-injector available. Currently, only 26% of parents have an injector at home, despite the fact that it is a handy tool in the face of an allergic crisis.

Symptoms of Milk Allergy vs Other Common Allergies

Milk allergies certainly aren’t the only allergies faced by children. Because they have developing immune systems, children are vulnerable to mold allergies, dust mites, and some are allergic to pet fur. There are also many food items that can cause a child to break out in a rash, face respiratory difficulties, or make them feel tired. These items include eggs, peanuts, fish and shellfish, soy, and wheat. If a child breaks out in hives, has difficulty breathing, frequently sneezes or has itchy eyes, or complains about stomach upset, an allergist will be able to identify the offending substance with precision.

What if it Is a Milk Allergy?

There are various steps to take if an infant or child is diagnosed with a milk allergy. Mothers who are breastfeeding, for instance, will often be recommended to avoid milk products, and to take calcium and Vitamin D supplements. Formula-fed babies, meanwhile, should switch to a soy-based formula. For older children, completely avoiding dairy foods will make a big change in terms of reducing symptoms and boosting quality of life.

The recent study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows that milk allergies among children and infants are far more prevalent than originally thought. Parents suspecting the existence of allergies should schedule an appointment with a specialist. With a few small changes, children can enjoy a nutritious and satisfying diet, while avoiding foods that can hamper their health and wellbeing.

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