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Milk Allergy

Two in every 100 children under 4 years old have a milk allergy. It is one of the most common allergies in children.

If a child has it, his or her body reacts to specific proteins in milk, causing an allergic reaction. This reaction can range from mild rashes and bloating to swelling in the face and trouble breathing.

Kids with a milk allergy must avoid milk and any food that may have traces of milk ingredients. This also includes “lactose-free” alternatives to milk products. They still may contain the proteins that trigger the reaction. Even a microscopic amount has the potential to lead to anaphylaxis.

Milk allergy is not the same as lactose intolerance. Individuals who are lactose intolerant are missing lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose – the sugar found in milk. As a result, people can experience cramps, bloating and diarrhea. It can cause discomfort, but it is not life-threatening.

It should go without saying, but always read labels. Milk proteins can be found in many foods under different names you wouldn’t expect.

To identify "hidden names" for milk, download a free PDF handout – Avoidance List/Cards: Milk Allergy (PDF)

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