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Milk allergy is a food allergy where a person is allergic to the proteins present in milk.
On the one hand, the immune system protects the body from harmful foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses and mounts a response to effectively killing them off. However, on the other hand, too much activation of the immune system, especially against foods, can lead to discomfort and complications. Peanuts, shell fish and several other food items are known to cause allergies.
Milk allergy is also called cow milk allergy since the allergy is more commonly seen with cow's milk than with other forms of milk.
Milk allergy refers to an immune reaction which occurs in response to milk ingestion whereas milk intolerance refers to a difficulty in digesting milk. The features of milk allergy such as hives and wheezing differ somewhat from those of milk intolerance which typically causes bloating and flatulence.
Cow's milk allergy is most common among young children, occurring in around 2% of all infants in developed countries. Milk allergy usually first manifests when a baby is weaned off breast milk and is introduced to cow's milk. Most children overcome the allergy by time they are 3 years of age but some continue to have symptoms and react severely to milk ingestion for the rest of their life.
Some common symptoms of milk allergy in babies include:
Symptoms of milk allergy in older children include: