Do You Have a Cow’s Milk Allergy or Lactose Intolerance?
A milk allergy and lactose intolerance are different, but it isn’t hard to see why some can confuse the conditions. Because they share similar symptoms, it may make individuals wonder if they should seek treatment for a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. However, understanding what is causing a reaction to milk will help ensure you seek the right help. Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center regularly treats patients with milk allergies in Atlanta and can diagnose the specific condition.
What Is a Milk Allergy?
A milk allergy is an immune system condition caused by an overreaction to proteins in milk. After you consume milk, the immune system can falsely perceive a threat and attempt to protect your body. The subsequent release of chemicals causes an allergic reaction and potentially even anaphylaxis.
The symptoms of a milk allergy can vary, but you will usually experience a skin rash, hives, breathing issues, swelling of the lips or tongue, coughing and vomiting. These symptoms usually occur quickly after consuming milk, though they could potentially be delayed.
Milk allergies are one of the most common allergies in children. If you are concerned your child is allergic to milk, speak to an allergy doctor before they suffer a severe allergic reaction.
What Is Lactose Intolerance?
The main difference between lactose intolerance and a milk allergy is that lactose intolerance is not associated with the immune system. A lactose intolerant person cannot digest the sugar found in milk and other dairy products called lactose. Subsequently, there is an issue digesting any food containing milk and some painful side effects typically occur.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, cramps, diarrhea and sickness. While these symptoms will be uncomfortable, they don’t carry the same threat of anaphylaxis as a milk allergy. Also, with lactose intolerance, discomfort is usually experienced at least 30 minutes after milk consumption, but some symptoms may take longer to emerge. Unlike a milk allergy, there won’t be any signs of a skin rash, facial swelling or breathing issues.
Treatment Options for a Milk Allergy
Treatments for milk allergies and lactose intolerance typically start the same, with an avoidance diet. Many stores now stock a range of dairy-free and lactose-free milk products. However, it is still important to check ingredient labels as milk is present in so many other products.
For milk allergy sufferers, there is an additional treatment option that builds tolerance to milk. Oral immunotherapy treatment (OIT) desensitizes the immune system to milk through regular consumption of milk proteins over an extended period of time. After completing the OIT process, individuals can consume milk products typically with no signs of an allergic reaction.
Get Effective Treatment for a Milk Allergy
If you or your child have experienced a reaction after consuming any food, contact us today. Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center diagnoses and treats food allergies from our centers in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek. For assistance, call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment online.
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