Milk allergy in adults

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A milk allergy, is caused by an immune system response to a protein contained in milk. This allergy is far more common in infants and children than in adults, and are usually outgrown by the age of 3.

However, many people who develop a milk allergy as a child will still have it into adulthood. It is important to note that milk allergies are not the same as lactose intolerance, although both both conditions may cause similar symptoms.

Milk Allergy Symptoms

The most common symptoms of milk allergy include abdominal pain, gas, cramps, bloating, and diarrhea, along with other gastrointestinal signs. Drinking milk may also cause nasal congestion, coughing, and itchy eyes, or mimic asthma, with wheezing and shortness of breath. Some adults with milk allergy notice a red rash or hives after drinking milk, while others notice fatigue, irritability, or headaches. A severe milk allergy may cause anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction.

Alternatives to milk

Adults with milk allergy should avoid consuming milk, although some are able to consume milk that has been cooked or baked without experiencing an adverse reaction. Some people with milk allergy can drink milk from goats, sheep or buffalo though these types of milk can still produce symptoms. There are also many replacements for cow's milk, including rice milk, soy milk, and coconut milk. Other sources of calcium should also be sought, especially by adults at risk for osteoporosis.

Treatment for milk allergies varies depending on the severity of the allergy. Doctors may prescribe an antihistamine such as Benadryl, or an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an Epi-Pen®) to be used in the event of accidental ingestion.

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