Milk allergy, one of the most common food allergies in children, is an abnormal response by the body’s immune system to milk and products containing milk. Cow’s milk is the usual cause, but milk from sheep, goats, buffalo and other mammals also can cause a reaction. An allergic reaction 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. Sometimes, 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. Those who don’t outgrow it may need to continue to avoid milk products.
Milk allergy symptoms, which differ from person to person, occur a few minutes to a few hours after drinking milk or eating milk products.
Immediately after consuming milk, signs and symptoms of a milk allergy might include:
Signs and symptoms that may take more time to develop include:
- Loose stools, which may contain blood
- Abdominal cramps
- Coughing or wheezing
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy skin rash, often around the mouth
- Colic, in babies