What causes sudden milk allergy

Sheet final reviewed: 12 July
Next review due: 12 July

Cow’s milk contains over 25 diverse molecules, which own the potential to elicit an allergic reaction. No wonder milk is repeatedly ranked among the top eight offenders for food allergies! In fact, numerous doctors, scientists, and health specialists recommend going dairy free as an initial test when a food allergy is suspected.

How Do I Know if I Own a Milk Allergy?

There are numerous diverse types of clinical allergy tests available, every with varying levels of effectiveness, but numerous doctors are moving towards elimination diets.

An elimination diet can easily identify a negative effect to a food, whether it is an allergy, intolerance, or a pure mystery, regardless of what the individual test results tell. Doctors and patients are often pleased with this method as it is simple, free, highly effective, and tailored to the individual. This is where our Dairy Free Challenge comes into play; it is a personal “elimination” test for milk.

What are the Symptoms of Milk Allergies?

Similar to other food allergies, the majority of milk allergy symptoms can be lumped into three “reaction” categories:

Skin: Itchy, Red Rash; Eczema; Hives; “Shiners” or Black Eyes; Aphthous Ulcers (canker sores) Swelling of the Lips, Mouth, Tongue, Face, or Throat.

Digestive: Abdominal Pain; Abdominal Cramps; Abdominal Bloating; Diarrhea; Gas; Nausea; Vomiting.

Respiratory: Runny Nose / Congestion; Sneezing; Watery Eyes; Itchy Eyes; Coughing; Wheezing; Shortness of Breath; Recurrent “colds”; Sinusitis.

To the pleasant surprise of numerous psychological sufferers, current research has uncovered a fourth category of symptoms, known as Behavioral.

Numerous doctors now believe that food allergies, including dairy, could be a direct cause of fatigue, migraine headaches, hyperactivity (ADHD), irritability, night-waking, anxiety, and sore muscles and joints.

As noted above, these symptoms may be mild or severe and life threatening; they could appear immediately or over a period of several days; and they may vary in response based on mild, moderate, and large quantities of milk intake.

For those unlucky few, anaphylaxis is a reality.

What causes sudden milk allergy

Anaphylaxis is a systemic allergic reaction that may involve multiple areas of the body, including the skin, cardiovascular system, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms are sudden, and may come on immediately or up to four hours after coming in contact with the allergen (in this case milk). Anaphylactic reactions can be mild. However, some cases are potentially fatal, and therefore require urgent medical attention.

What causes sudden milk allergy

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be at risk for anaphylactic reactions, refer to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) for additional information.

How Common are Milk Allergies?

It was previously thought that milk allergies occurred only in infants, and that the problem subsided prior to adulthood. Unfortunately, for numerous of us this just isn’t so. The numbers are every over the board, but it is estimated that anywhere from 2 to % of infants own an allergy to cow’s milk. Studies show that approximately 60% of infants allergic to cow’s milk will “outgrow” the allergy by the age of 4, 80% by the age of 6. Bonus for those people, but this leaves up to million people in the U.S.

alone with a potential milk allergy. This is more than “just a few” people by our estimates. To complicate things further, it seems that it is possible for adults to develop a milk allergy with no childhood history of allergies. Another exciting fact, symptoms associated with milk allergy own the potential to morph over time. One study followed a group of milk allergic children and found that at the beginning of the study most of the children had primarily gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea), but by the finish of the study, numerous had switched over to respiratory symptoms such as wheezing.

Can Milk Allergies Be Treated?

As with most allergies, avoiding the offending substance is the top recommended treatment.

Utilize the numerous guides and resources this site has to offer, in order to make it an simple and enjoyable transition.

What Exactly is a Milk Allergy?

Although they are often muddled together in conversation, milk allergies and lactose intolerance are fairly diverse. A food allergy is identified as an abnormal and heightened response of the immune system to certain components (most notably proteins) within a food. In milk, the two leading allergy offenders are the milk proteins known as casein and whey.

Casein is the curd that forms when milk is left to sour. Whey is the watery part that is left after the curd is removed. A food intolerance is when you develop symptoms after eating a food that your body cant manage with effectively, but it does not involve an immune response. Head to our Lactose Intolerance section to read more on this topic.

Some scientists believe that there is only one type of “true food allergy” while others report studies of two, three, and even four variations of food allergies.

What causes sudden milk allergy

For simplicity sake we will just note the two most commonly sited allergy categories: immediate hypersensitivity reaction and delayed hypersensitivity reaction. In immediate hypersensitivity situations symptoms may start to appear within minutes of ingesting the offending food. Love the way your friend’s Aunt Martha blows up love a balloon the second she takes a bite of that chocolate bar laced with peanuts.

What causes sudden milk allergy

Delayed hypersensitivity reactions own received little attention until recently, so not too much is known about them as of yet. It is believed that these types of reactions elicit a diverse response from the immune system than the immediate hypersensitivity. With delayed hypersensitivity, symptoms own an onset time of 6 to 24 hours after eating an offending food, tend to reach their peak at about 48 hours, and gradually subside over hours. For both immediate and delayed reactions, symptoms may be extremely mild, and even go unnoticed (i.e. rash or eczema), or they may be fairly severe (i.e. Aunt Martha).

Related News & Articles


  1. Food Allergies & Other Food Sensitivities; A Publication of the Institute of Food Technologists; Expert Panel on Food Safety and Nutrition Story: Milk Allergy Can Persist After Infancy
  2. Clinical and Experimental Allergy ;; study by Dr.

    A. Carroccio and colleagues, of the University of Palermo

  3. Allergy Society of South Africa, Dr M. Groenewald
  4. Milk Allergy – An Immune System’s Response to Milk Proteins, by Judy Tidwell

Could it be lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is another type of reaction to milk, when the body cannot digest lactose, a natural sugar found in milk. However, this is not an allergy.

Lactose intolerance can be temporary – for example, it can come on for a few days or weeks after a tummy bug.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:

  1. vomiting
  2. stomach rumbling and pains
  3. diarrhoea 
  4. wind

Treatment for CMA

If your baby is diagnosed with CMA, you’ll be offered advice by your GP or an allergy specialist on how to manage their allergy.

You may also be referred to a dietitian.

Treatment involves removing every cows’ milk from your child’s diet for a period of time.

If your baby is formula-fed, your GP can prescribe special baby formula.

What causes sudden milk allergy

Do not give your kid any other type of milk without first getting medical advice.

If your baby is exclusively breastfed, the mom will be advised to avoid every cows’ milk products.

What causes sudden milk allergy

Your kid should be assessed every 6 to 12 months to see if they own grown out of their allergy.

Read more about cows’ milk allergy.

Treatment for lactose intolerance

Treatment depends on the extent of your child’s intolerance. Some children with lactose intolerance may be capable to own little amounts of dairy products without having symptoms.

Your kid may be referred to a dietitian for specialist advice.

Read more about treatment for lactose intolerance in children.

Cows’ milk allergy in babies

Cows’ milk allergy (CMA), also called cows’ milk protein allergy, is one of the most common childhood food allergies.

What causes sudden milk allergy

It is estimated to affect around 7% of babies under 1, though most children grow out of it by the age of 5.

CMA typically develops when cows’ milk is first introduced into your baby’s diet either in formula or when your baby starts eating solids.

More rarely, it can affect babies who are exclusively breastfed because of cows’ milk from the mother’s diet passing to the baby through breast milk.

There are 2 main types of CMA:

  1. immediate CMA – where symptoms typically start within minutes of having cows’ milk
  2. delayed CMA – where symptoms typically start several hours, or even days, after having cows’ milk

Symptoms of cows’ milk allergy

Cows’ milk allergy can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:

  1. digestive problems – such as stomach ache, vomiting, colic, diarrhoea or constipation
  2. hay fever-like symptoms – such as a runny or blocked nose
  3. skin reactions – such as a red itchy rash or swelling of the lips, face and around the eyes
  4. eczema that does not improve with treatment

Occasionally CMA can cause severe allergic symptoms that come on suddenly, such as swelling in the mouth or throat, wheezing, cough, shortness of breath, and difficult, noisy breathing.

A severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, is a medical emergency – call or go immediately to your local hospital A&E department.