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3.2.2 Adverse Reactions to Milk: Milk Allergy




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This article is from the Children Allergies and Asthma FAQ, by Eileen Kupstas Soo kupstas@cs.unc.edu with numerous contributions by others.

3.2.2 Adverse Reactions to Milk: Milk Allergy

Milk allergy, on the other hand, involves an allergic reaction to one
or more of the proteins in milk (casein, lactalbumin, lactoglobulins).
An allergic reaction to milk may include: eczema, rash, mucous
buildup, wheezing, asthma, rhinitis, pneumonia, anaphylaxis. The type
and severity of symptoms varies widely. Because a true milk allergy
may involve mast cells in the mouth and throat, it is possible to have
an allergic reaction to milk or milk products before they are
digested. It is possible to be both lactose intolerant AND allergic to
milk.

DIAGNOSIS

The bad news is, diagnostic tests for milk allergy -- for food allergy
in general -- are hit or miss. One source I have claims that a
negative is accurate, but false positives are common. Another states
that the extracts used in allergy tests tend to lose potency quickly so
you might test negative on a test and STILL be allergic. Elimination
diets are the best test you have available to you. If you suspect milk
allergy, eliminate milk and milk products for two or more weeks, and
see what happens. If you can convince your physician to conduct a
double-blind test on you, you may be able to confirm the diagnosis.

TREATMENT

The worse news is, no cure is available -- avoidance, and symptom
control via antihistamines, etc. are the best you can do. (For now, at
least, this is true of all food allergy, at least according to the
conservative medical community -- but research is ongoing. I have a
reference to a study by the National Jewish Center for Immunology and
Respiratory Medicine in Denver which claims successful desensitization
to peanuts in people who had a life history of allergic reaction to
them. There's a dim hope, at least.)

[The National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine
in Denver has prepared a report about successful desensitization to
peanuts in patients with a life history of allergic reaction to them.

The address for that group is:

National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine
Public Affairs Department
1400 Jackson Street
Denver, CO 80206
303-398-1079, 800-222-LUNG (5864)]

 

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