Milk Allergy vs. Milk Intolerance


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If you have a bad reaction to a food, it could be a number of things:

If you have a bad reaction to milk, it may be diagnosed as milk gone bad or lactose intolerance, and while in many cases that can be true, it could also be due to a milk allergy. According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology (ACAAI), “between 2 and 3 percent of children younger than 3 are allergic to milk.” The good news is that most of them outgrow the allergy by the time they are 16, but for some it remains a lifelong issue.

Milk Allergy vs. Milk Intolerance

Food intolerance occurs when there is a problem in properly breaking down food in the digestive system. With milk, it is an inability to digest the sugar, or lactose, due to lack of the enzyme lactase. They symptoms of an intolerance are usually gastrointestinal-related. On the other hand, an allergy occurs when your body determines something is harmful and produces antibodies to attack it, causing the symptoms that the ACAAI lists below. The two conditions are not actually related.

Symptoms of a Milk Allergy

If a milk allergy is present, the following symptoms, which vary in intensity, will present within a short time after consuming the milk product:

  • Hives
  • Stomach upset
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stools, especially in infants
  • Anaphylaxis, a rare, potentially life-threatening reaction that impairs breathing and can send the body into shock

These symptoms vary in intensity and if they occur, especially in a young child, you should make an appointment with allergist, such as our expert physicians at Westwood Ear, Nose & Throat, to confirm the nature of the reaction. Before doing any testing, we will talk with you about your medical history, symptoms, and instances of reactions. Next, we’ll perform a series of tests to determine if it is indeed milk causing your discomfort. Once a milk allergy is confirmed, we’ll help you develop a milk-free diet. WebMD provides this pretty extensive list of foods that include milk products that can be of help. On the other hand, if it turns out that it is a different type of allergy, or something else altogether, you will be in the right place for diagnosis and treatment.

So stop letting milk upset you, whether it spills or not. Call (888) 230-3715 and schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices to find relief.

For information on all things ear, nose and throat, visit the Westwood ENT website and blog.

 

 

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