Milk allergy is a natural response of the immune system to milk and other products that contain milk in it. This abnormal body reaction is one of the most common types of food allergies experienced by children, especially when they start consuming cow's milk. In addition to cow's milk, milk derived from goats, sheep, and other lactating animals can also cause milk allergic reactions. Allergic reactions usually appear several minutes to several hours after allergen substances (milk) are consumed. Allergic reactions can include vomiting, wheezing that sounds (wheezing), itchy rashes, and indigestion.
Causes of Milk Allergy
Milk allergy is different from milk protein intolerance and lactose intolerance. Intolerance or the inability of the body to receive a substance unrelated to the immune system and have symptoms and different treatment with milk allergy. Dairy allergy is a type of food allergy caused by a disorder of the immune system of the patient who considers a protein content, in this case is milk, as a dangerous substance. This warning then triggers the immune system to produce E immunoglobulin antibody to neutralize the allergen. This process results in the release of histamine and other chemicals in the body which then cause the appearance of certain milk allergy symptoms.
The two main ingredients in milk proteins that cause milk allergy are casein and whey. Casein is found in the dense milk section, also known as the curd. Whey is found in the liquid portion of milk that persists even when the milk is thickened. These two proteins may be difficult to avoid because they are found in other dairy foods. Milk allergy sufferers also tend to have allergies to milk from other lactating animals, but do not always have allergies to soybean milk.
Some other factors may also trigger a milk allergy in a person, namely:
- Allergies to other foods that usually begin to develop after milk allergies appear.
- There is a history of allergies in the family, such as hay fever or rhinitis, asthma, and eczema.
- Children are more likely to suffer from allergic reactions that will usually improve once the digestive system develops as the child grows up.
- Children with atopic dermatitis, chronic skin inflammation.
Are You Know?
Symptoms of Milk Allergy
Milk allergic reactions vary for each person, but generally appear one hour after drinking milk. Here are other symptoms of milk allergy that takes longer to be felt by the sufferer.
- Stomach cramps
- Watering nose (snot)
- Watery eyes
- Dirt is more fluid (diarrhea) and may contain blood
- Itchy rash around the mouth
- The appearance of colic in infants (which is usually characterized by incessant crying)
Anaphylaxis causes the airways to narrow and inhibit breathing. This reaction should be promptly treated at the hospital. Some of the symptoms of anaphylaxis that should be wary of:
- Airway obstruction, including a blocked throat that causes respiratory distress
- A significant drop in blood pressure causes shock
- Face flushed and itching all over the body
Diagnosis of Milk Allergy
Patients with milk allergy may have to stop taking antihistamines for 5-7 days before visiting a doctor. Ask these and other necessary preparations when making meeting schedules to ease the diagnosis process.
At the initial examination, the doctor may ask about the symptoms felt and whether the patient has a diary containing a list of foods ever consumed. The doctor will also ask if the patient has ever tried to remove the milk from the choice or diet of the food it consumes, then add it again to see the reaction produced by the body.
After that, the doctor will usually do a physical exam. If necessary, your doctor may also recommend follow-up tests, such as:
- Blood tests to measure the amount of antibody immunoglobulin E produced by the body.
- Skin test. In this test, the doctor will make a small prick on the skin surface of the patient. After that, a small amount of milk protein is placed in the area of the skin. A small itchy bump will appear in areas of skin exposed to milk proteins if the patient is right to have a milk allergy.
Milk Allergy Treatment
Dairy allergy generally disappears as the child ages, but some continue to have allergies until they grow up. Avoiding allergens (allergic sources) is the best allergy treatment action, in this case is milk or milk protein. This is sometimes difficult because milk is a food that is widely used to process other foods, such as baked goods and yoghurt. Ask your doctor what foods should be avoided as some milk allergy owners can still consume certain types of milk like yoghurt safely.
While in the case of drugs, antihistamines are drugs that can be used to relieve symptoms of allergic reactions and reduce discomfort. But a more serious allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, should get a shot of adrenaline (epinephrine). Patients should also be taken to the hospital in case of follow-up reactions. Patients will then be provided with drugs, epinephrine syringes, and procedures for injection if at any time the attack repeats itself. You can carry and use antihistamine medications and epinephrine injections simultaneously just in case. Keep in mind that antihistamines are not a substitute for epinephrine injections, but rather as additional drugs in case of anaphylactic reactions.
Prevention of Milk Allergy
Preventing milk allergy is done by avoiding milk and products that contain milk or milk protein. Read the product labels carefully before buying, consuming, or using them, especially when eating outdoors. Ask the chef about ingredients and details of food processing before ordering or eating them. Also beware of products that include nondairy and milk-free labels because they probably still have milk protein content. Some products that contain milk, among others:
- Ice cream
- Cheeses and cheeses
- Materials that have a lact in its name, such as lactose and lactate
- Powdered protein
- Artificial butter flavor
- Artificial cheese ingredients
- Candy, chocolate bars and liquid, caramel
- Whey and whey hydrolysate
- Casein, calcium casein, casein hydrolysate, magnesium casein, potassium kasienin and sodium casein.
For nursing mothers, breastfeeding during the first 4-6 months, in addition to being the best source of nutrients, is thought to help prevent milk allergies in infants. But if your baby is proven to have a milk allergy, then you should get rid of the product with milk content in your daily dietary choices so that milk substances do not enter through milk to the child. In older children with milk allergies, the combination of breast milk and hypoallergenic milk formula can prevent the emergence of allergic reactions. Immediately see a doctor if you suspect a child has an allergic reaction after he is breastfed.
Certain milk formula hypoallergenic not milk-based, but amino acids so as not to cause allergic reactions. Consult your doctor about this product before using it as a replacement milk. Another alternative is to use soy-based milk protein and rice milk ( rice milk ), but also need to be considered also about its use because some children who have milk allergies also have soy allergy. Doctors can also help milk allergy sufferers to have a choice or diet rich in nutritional and balanced foods for the body. You may need to take vitamins and supplements to replace the nutrients found in milk, such as vitamin D and riboflavin.