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Milk Allergy in Infants

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Surprisingly, infants can be allergic to dairy milk. Milk allergy affects up to 3% of infants. An infant who is allergic to milk has a compromised immune system, which overreacts to proteins present in commercial baby formulas. Whenever the allergic baby consumes cow’s milk, the immune system fights the protein, thinking they are harmful invaders, thus, resulting in allergic reaction.

Milk Allergy Symptoms

An allergy to cow’s milk can cause the following symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Hives
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Swelling
  • Red spots
  • Lightheadedness or even unconsciousness

While the symptoms may be mild at first attack, it doesn’t mean that your baby won’t suffer from serious allergic reactions. Moreover, some babies develop late symptoms that are not visible until hours or days after the consumption of cow’s milk. These symptoms may include loose stools (sometimes with blood), colic, irritability, vomiting, and rashes. Sometimes the baby may refuse to take more cow’s milk or eat anything.

How to avoid allergic reactions

You may do certain things in order for your child to not suffer from allergic reactions. If you are breastfeeding and your baby has allergy to cow’s milk, it is advisable for you to avoid eating dairy products. Read the label carefully before eating anything. Sometimes, even when the food product doesn’t seem to have any milk in them, there are milk proteins in small amounts that can trigger an allergic reaction, particularly in oversensitive babies.

If the baby drinks formula milk, your doctor may give an extensively hydrolyzed milk formula, which is especially made for babies with milk allergy. Most of these formulas are labeled “hypoallergenic”. Non-dairy milks like almond, soy, coconut and rice milk are great choices for bigger children and adults with milk allergy; however, it is not advisable for use in infants and small babies.

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