Dairy Allergy in Children and how to detect it

Life can be devastating for your child if he has dairy Allergy. Only 2-3 % of the total population has milk allergy, and it is often confused with lactose intolerance. Although in some cases both conditions might present themselves with the same symptoms, lactose intolerance is not life-threatening. Milk Allergy can have a wide range of symptoms which can be mild to severe. Severe cases of Milk Allergy can be fatal. If you find your child in discomfort after he has ingested milk, you might want to consider getting your child tested for allergies and lactose intolerance. 

Why it happens

Individuals who are allergic to Dairy have a condition. Their body mistakenly takes milk as a foreign invader in the body, which in turn causes the body to release chemicals like histamine. The release of histamines causes symptoms. This condition is due to the individual’s genetic code. It is the body’s abnormal response to milk due to the body’s immune system.


To detect your child for Dairy allergy, you must observe your child’s condition and symptoms after feeding with milk. Children who have dairy allergy can present their symptoms as bloating, stomach ache, wheezing, coughing, skin-rash, hoarseness, throat tightness, diarrhoea, vomiting, itchy or watery eyes, swollen eyes, hives, anaphylaxis, facial flushing, loose stool with blood, colic in babies, runny nose, red-spots, swelling, light-headedness or a drop in blood pressure. If you find your child in any of the above, you should get your child tested.

Anaphylaxis is a condition in which the airways become narrow and block the passage of breathing. After peanuts and tree nuts, milk is the third most common food to cause it.

Symptoms may vary from individual to individual. So much so, that the same individual can have different symptoms of ingesting milk. The quantity or type of milk consumed may or may not be a factor. Even the severity of symptoms may vary on different occasions. A person might have a mild reaction before and a severe one afterward. 

Life with Dairy Allergy

Children who have Dairy Allergy cannot consume the milk of sheep or goat either. The milk in sheep or goat is more or less the same as the cow’s milk. Even powdered milk is to be avoided. All sort of salads which might have butter and cream are to be avoided.  If you suspect your child has difficulty breathing it might be an attack of anaphylaxis. You must rush to the hospital for an adrenaline shot (epinephrine). 

Foods to be avoided

Here is a list of foods to be avoided if your child has dairy allergy:

  • Butter 
  • Cheese
  • Custard
  • Cream (including sour cream)
  • Milk
  • Ice Cream
  • Pudding


If you suspect your child has dairy allergy, please consult a qualified allergist. The Allergist will help you rule out other medical conditions and diagnose and treat your child’s condition. Individuals who have this condition spend quality of life closer to that of the rest of the population. This condition is usually treatable, and triggers can be avoided.