When a person has been in contact with or ingested a milk (dairy) product the body’s immune system reacts. The proteins in the milk are considered harmful by the body which causes an allergic reaction. Symptoms can result within seconds or not for two hours and may be mild to severe to life threatening.
What causes an allergic reaction to milk?
Typically the milk proteins, such as casein and whey, are the cause. This is different from lactose intolerance, which is caused by the milk sugar or lactose.
Is a milk allergy from only cow’s milk?
No, goat, sheep, and other milk can also cause a milk allergic reaction because there are similar milk proteins present in these milks as well.
With a milk allergy what products should be avoided?
The foods that are made from milk should be avoided. Those are: cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and any food product that has milk or dairy in the ingredients. Whey is a protein additive in many vitamins, protein bars, shakes, and fitness related food products. There are personal products and cleaning products such as cosmetics and soaps that also have milk. These products should be avoided as well. Be sure to avoid all foods containing dairy, casein, and whey as well as their derivatives.
If you suspect you have food allergies, see your doctor or allergist for testing and diagnosis. Knowing what foods to avoid and carrying emergency medicine like epinephrine, if needed, can save your life if you have a serious allergy.