Symptoms of a Milk Allergy

Symptoms of cow’s milk protein allergy will generally appear within the first few months of life, often within days or weeks after introduction of cow’s milk-based formula into the diet. An infant can experience symptoms either very quickly after feeding (rapid onset) or not until 7 to 10 days after consuming the cow’s milk protein (slower onset). Symptoms may also occur with exclusive breastfeeding if the mother ingests cow’s milk.

The slower-onset reaction is more common. Symptoms may include loose stools (possibly containing blood), vomiting, gagging, refusing food, irritability or colic, and skin rashes, like eczema. This type of reaction is more difficult to diagnose because the same symptoms may occur with other health conditions. Most kids will outgrow this form of allergy after 2 years of age, although some might not outgrow it until adolescence.

Rapid-onset reactions come on suddenly with symptoms that can include irritability, vomiting, wheezing, swelling, hives, other itchy bumps on the skin, and bloody diarrhea.

In some cases, a potentially severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can occur and affect the baby’s skin, stomach, breathing, and blood pressure. Anaphylaxis is more common with other food allergies (peanuts and tree nuts) than with milk allergy.

Diagnosing a Milk Allergy
If you suspect that your infant is allergic to milk, call your doctor, who’ll ask about any family history of allergies or food intolerance and then do a physical exam. There’s no single lab test to accurately diagnose a milk allergy, so your doctor might order several tests to make the diagnosis and rule out any other health problems.

In addition to a stool test and a blood test, the doctor may order an allergy skin test, in which a small amount of the milk protein in inserted just under the surface of the child’s skin with a needle. If a raised spot called a wheal emerges, the child may have a milk allergy. If your child is positive for a milk allergy, your doctor may tell you to avoid milk.

The doctor also might request an oral challenge test when he or she feels it is safe. This involves having the baby consume milk in the doctor’s office, and then waiting for a few hours to watch for any allergic reaction. Sometimes doctors repeat this test to reconfirm the diagnosis.

https://www.rchsd.org/health-articles/milk-allergy-in-infants/