How common are milk allergies? A recent study revealed that they are more common than believed, with many of them eventually outgrowing the milk allergy.
Most Common Food Allergy
Although peanut allergies are often talked about, milk allergies are often overlooked when it comes to food allergies. However, it is one of the most common forms of allergy and in fact, a recent study presented just last Friday at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology revealed that it is actually the most common food allergy overall for children under the age of 5.
For the study, researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey of over 50,000 parents and found that 1.9 percent of children actually have milk allergies. Furthermore, they found that it is relatively common in infancy, affecting over half of 1-year-old children with food allergies, and accounting for nearly 40 percent of food allergies in children ages 1 and 2.
Undiagnosed Milk Allergy
Unfortunately, a lot of these children with milk allergies go undiagnosed by physicians, and the symptoms that they experience are chalked up to other similar conditions such as milk intolerance instead. This is problematic because the researchers also found that one in four children with milk allergies had to get emergency care in the last 12 months, but less than half of them were properly diagnosed by a physician.
“The general public needs to be more aware of milk allergies. They think it’s all peanut. We set out to build awareness so families can get the proper diagnosis,” said study researcher Dr. Ruchi Gupta.
According to ACAAI, between 2 and 3 percent of children below 3 years old are allergic to milk, with 80 percent of them likely to outgrow the allergy by the time they turn 16. People who are allergic to cow's milk may also have a reaction to the milk of other animals such as sheep and goat.
Some of its symptoms include hives, stomach upset, vomiting, bloody stools, and anaphylaxis. Just like with other allergies, the best remedy is to avoid consuming the allergen, and to administer epinephrine if the symptoms become too severe.