Are You Allergic to Milk

Milk allergy is not uncommon. It may lead to dangerous health conditions at times. Hence it is crucial to know if you are allergic to milk. Understanding symptoms of milk allergy will help you deal with the condition and get early treatment.

Milk allergy symptoms differ from one person to another. It occurs for a few minutes to a few hours after drinking milk. It may even occur soon after eating milk products.

Immediately after consuming milk, you may observe the following signs and symptoms of a milk allergy:

  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Wheezing

Some signs and symptoms of milk allergy that may take more time to develop include the following listed below:

  • Loose stools
  • Stools with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Rashes around the mouth
  • Colic (usually) in babies

Is it Milk Allergy or Milk Intolerance?

It is crucial to differentiate a true milk allergy from milk protein intolerance, also known as lactose intolerance. Unlike a milk allergy, intolerance does not involve the immune system. Milk intolerance leads to different symptoms and needs different treatment from a true milk allergy.

Common signs and symptoms of milk protein or lactose intolerance include the following listed below:

  • Digestive problems
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea

The symptoms can be experienced soon after consuming milk or products containing milk.


In some rare cases, milk allergy can result in anaphylaxis. It is a life-threatening reaction that can narrow the airways and block breathing. In case, you or your child experiences a reaction to milk, speak to your doctor about it regardless of how mild the reaction was. Various tests can be conducted to allow you confirm a milk allergy. This is important to take steps to avoid future and potentially worse reactions.

What is Anaphylaxis?

It is a medical emergency and requires treatment with an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot. Patient will also require a trip to the emergency room.

Signs and symptoms start soon after consuming milk in case of anaphylaxis may include:

  • Constriction of airways that includes a swollen throat.
  • Itching
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Facial flushing
  • Shock, with a marked drop in blood pressure

Visiting a Doctor

It is important to see a doctor or allergist if you or your child experiences milk allergy symptoms soon after consuming milk. If possible, you must see your doctor as soon as the allergic reaction occurs. This will help the doctor make a diagnosis.


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