Milk allergies and lactose intolerance may appear to be quite similar to each other but actually they are different. Allergies occur when the allergen comes at loggerheads with one’s immune system. The food in question is misunderstood by the immune system as a threat to the body and so it begins to show signs of intolerance. Each time a person with milk allergy consumes any kind of food which has a form of milk product in it the immune system will treat the milk proteins as invaders and show resistance to it. It produces antibodies which are meant to attack the milk proteins. The way in which the immune system of an allergic person reacts to milk is much like the way the immune system of a normal person reacts to viruses and bacteria. The main culprit behind causing the symptoms of allergies is “histamine” which is released by the antibodies when it realizes the presence of a potential threat.
The milk allergy symptoms take a couple of minutes or in some cases an hour or two to show. People with milk allergies need to be very careful with what they consume because there are many products which are made with milk as the basic dominant ingredient.
Two Kinds of Allergy Causing Milk Protein:
The two most common allergy causing milk proteins are whey and casein. While whey is found in the watery part of the milk casein is found in the curdled part of the milk. Therefore most of the diary products like cheese and butter contain casein in great quantities. Milk allergies usually run in the family so if one’s parents have it then there is a big chance of one inheriting it. The children are at a far greater risk of having a milk allergy than adults. It has been noted that infant with other allergies tend to get allergic to milk as well.
Symptoms of Milk Allergy:
The symptoms of milk allergy changes from time to time. Usually the ones which show up almost immediately after the consumption of any form of milk product are
- Nausea: There will be a situation where the patient might feel discomfort in the abdominal are and feel nauseous.
- Vomiting: The nausea when allowed to be passed beyond a limit causes vomiting.
The symptoms which occur after a certain time has elapsed are
- Loose motion
- Traces of blood found in bowels
- Sever cramps in the abdominal area
- Watery eyes as well as a running nose
- Skin irritation mostly in the form of red spots around the mouth.
- Low blood pressure
- Swellings of eyes, lips, throat and nose
- Anaphylaxis: This reaction called anaphylaxis happens rarely but when it does it disturbs the respiratory process by blocking the supply of oxygen to the lungs due to the narrowing of the windpipe. In some extreme cases anaphylaxis has proved to be life threatening. This is considered as an emergency and anyone susceptible to anaphylaxis should immediately be sent to the emergency section of a hospital if he begins to show signs of it. The signs of acquiring or suffering from anaphylaxis are difficulty in breathing because of the narrowing of nasal passageways, itching of the skin, flushing of the face and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Alternatives for Milk:
Those who are unable to consume milk because of allergies need to be aware of other alternatives that are easily available in the market
- Soy Milk: Soy Milk is one of most widely popular as well as cost effective alternative of diary. Easily available in most markets these are easy to find and are friendly to the people who suffer from milk allergies. Being high in its protein content soy milk can be effectively used in most dishes which were primarily based on milk like cakes, cookies, pies and sweets. It can be safely consumed both as a raw product or cooked according to one’s taste. But since it has a characteristic taste of its own one must make sure that one completely likes it before stacking one’s fridge with hoards of soy milk and tofu.
- Goat Milk: Goat milk might be an alternative for people who are allergic to cow’s milk but it must be remembered that goat’s milk should only be consumed after one has received an approval from one’s doctor because it has been found that generally the ones who are allergic to cow’s milk are allergic to goat’s milk as well.
- Oat Milk: Oats can be used to extract milk as well. This kind of milk is light in its protein content and easily digestible to most. Though it is not the best to have around while baking people with milk allergy can surely gorge on oat milk raw along with cereals or fruits for breakfast.
- Rice Milk: Though it tastes deliciously sweet rice milk does not have much to do with providing the right amount of proteins for a child because it is highly watery and quite low in its protein content. Because of its watery texture it cannot be of much use in cooking as well. However because of its distinctive nutty flavor it can be easily consumed as it is or poured on top of one’s morning cereals.
- Nut Milk: Those who are fond of nuts will be delightful to know that nut milk is a good substitute of ordinary cow’s milk because it is rich in protein and thick in texture. Because of its nutty flavor and thick consistency it is widely used in baking. Rich in vitamins, when consumed as it is nut milk becomes an instant favorite with coffee, cereals or shakes.
Good to Note:
Lactose free milk is meant strictly for people with lactose intolerance and not for people with milk allergies because it contains in it the same proteins that normal milk contains.
In order to treat this kind of a milk allergy a person has to be extra careful with what is being consumed every day. It is one’s duty to let ones friends and family members be aware of one’s conditions in order to avoid any unnecessary mishap. Readinglabels of food product before purchasing it should become a regular habit because there are many food varieties where the occurrence of milk will be highly unexpected like certain pieces of cut and processed meat. The ones who have a milk allergy may find it as quite a challenge, but there is actually no need to lose sleep over it because even the ones who safely consume dairy products every day fail to have the right amount of calcium in their bodies. So even if milk allergies might imply the cutting down of a host of culinary delights it is not an implication of a future calcium deficiency because there are many alternatives available in the market like juice and soy products that will provide one with all the calcium that one may require.