Does your child experience hives, stomach pains, a runny nose and wheezing after drinking milk or consuming dairy products? When the answer is yes, then they could benefit from a milk allergy treatment with a trusted Atlanta allergist. Dairy products are a significant part of most children’s diets, and fully avoiding exposure to milk is not easy. But with the help of allergy desensitization, it may be possible to reintroduce milk and milk products into their daily diet without concern.
How Common Are Milk Allergies in Children?
You might be surprised to know that around 5% of children under the age of three are allergic to milk. Though many children are likely to outgrow their milk allergy by the age of 16, it can still pose a threat to many families.
A milk allergy should not be confused with lactose intolerance. A milk allergy is when your immune system reacts to a specific food protein found in dairy products and symptoms can range from mild to severe and life-threatening. It is important to note that food intolerance does not involve the immune system. Instead, those with an intolerance are unable to break down the properties of certain foods, leaving them unable to digest the foods resulting in nausea, cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea.
For those who are allergic to milk (especially children), it can be stressful to avoid dairy products or foods that are made with dairy products. Fortunately, Dr. Chacko and his staff offer oral immunotherapy for patients who are allergic to milk and other dairy products.
What Is Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)?
Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) is a modern medical treatment offered by hundreds of medical doctors across the globe for those with certain food allergies. OIT involves the regular administration of small amounts of the allergen (food) by mouth to increase the immune system tolerance to the allergen, desensitizing the patient to the allergen.
For the longest time and still even today, the number one treatment method for those with food allergies is avoidance and the use of Epinephrine (EpiPen) during instances of severe exposure.
OIT treatment begins with very small amounts of the allergen or the allergen’s protein typically mixed in water in a controlled setting under the direct supervision of your doctor. Throughout the treatment, the amount of the allergen is increased over a period of months with at-home daily doses as well.
The goal of oral immunotherapy is to improve the patient’s resistance to the food allergen and provide protection in the event of accidental ingestion of the allergen. It is not a curative therapy, but to prevent severe reactions in case of exposure or accident consumption.
Patients should continue to carry EpiPens, read labels closely and avoid their food allergy when possible.
How Effective Is Milk OIT?
Desensitization refers to the improvement in outcomes after OIT but still relies on ongoing exposure to the allergen. It is considered a long-term commitment treatment with daily doses at home and maintenance phases that could be required for several months to years. Frequent check-ups are required to safely assess the tolerance of each dose level.
To continue desensitization, patients must maintain daily doses of the allergen to prevent the allergic reaction from returning to the starting point.
The Main Benefits of OIT for a Milk Allergy
Oral immunotherapy treatment for food allergies will be a life-changing treatment for many children. Here are just some of the key benefits.
- Safe treatment performed under medical supervision.
- Increased tolerance to milk proteins.
- Reduced fear of food consumption.
- Reduced risk of anaphylaxis.
- Better quality of life for children.
What Are the Side Effects of Milk OIT?
Common milk allergy symptoms include hives, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases anaphylaxis.
During the first few days of OIT patients experience mild forms of allergic reactions that may include hives, oral itching, and gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and cramping. As the treatment continues these side effects are greatly reduced and even eliminated in some cases.
Like all allergy treatments, OIT is not a one-size-fits-all approach as every patient is different and unique. We will work with you to find the right treatment plan to best suit you or your loved one’s needs.
As stated above, many children can outgrow their dairy allergies and we have seen great success in children and oral immunotherapy for milk allergies. After several months of treatment, many patients are able to eat dairy products or food containing dairy with minor allergic reactions due to their continued participation in oral immunotherapy.
Trusted Milk Allergy Desensitization Treatment in Atlanta
Dr. Chacko is an experienced allergy doctor with expertise in allergy desensitization and oral immunotherapy treatment. If you have a milk allergy or are allergic to other foods, visit one of our locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth or Johns Creek. Call us at (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment now.
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