Milk Allergy: a Crash Course
What causes milk allergy?
Immune system malfunctions are responsible for all food allergies. In the case of milk allergy, the body produces immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to attack proteins in milk that it mistakenly identifies as harmful. When the body recognizes the milk proteins a second time, IgE antibodies trigger an immune response that causes the symptoms of milk allergy.
The two main proteins in milk that can trigger an allergic response are:
- Casein: In the curd of the milk
- Whey: In the liquid part of the milk after curdling
Someone can be allergic to one of these proteins or both, and some processed foods also have them. People allergic to cow milk will most likely also react to sheep, goat and buffalo milk. In rare instances, soy milk can trigger a reaction. Allergic reactions can occur immediately or sometimes a few hours after milk consumption.
What puts you at risk for milk allergy?
- Other allergies: Milk allergy often comes along with other allergies. It is often the first allergy a child develops.
- Eczema: Eczema (atopic dermatitis), a type of chronic skin rash, are much more at risk of food allergies.
- Family history: If one or both parents have any type of allergic condition, a child’s likelihood of food allergy increases.
- Age: Milk allergy is most common in children. As they grow up, they often lose their milk allergy symptoms and can consume milk safely.
Do you or your child have a milk allergy? Consider joining one of IMMUNOe’s clinical research studies on milk allergy.