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Milk Allergies vs Lactose Intolerance

Many people think that milk allergy and lactose intolerance are the same things because they are both related to milk and the treatment is the same (avoiding milk products). However, the two differ greatly in terms of how they are caused and how they affect a person. Milk allergy involves the immune system, where the body reacts to milk proteins and milk products as if they are dangerous invaders. On the other hand, lactose intolerance is a digestive problem, where the body does not manufacture lactase (an enzyme required to digest lactose). Undigested lactose then moves to the colon, where it’s broken down by bacteria, causing gas and bloating in the process. If both are not treated properly, they could be life-threatening. Most children eventually outgrow a milk allergy but those who don’t have to continue seeing an allergy doctor in Leesburg to manage the problem.

Prevention

A person allergic to milk should never consume them under any circumstances. This means being diligent in avoiding anything made from dairy products, for example, cheese, butter, cream, yogurt, and sour cream, among many others. It is also important to read labels on food products to know what to eat and what to avoid. There are other foods labeled dairy-free but in fact have milk products in them. These should be avoided too.

If one is not sure if the food has dairy products, they must go through all the ingredients. Advisory statements such as “may contain milk” should not be relied upon, as these are voluntary and not required by law. In addition to that, foods that are not regulated by the FDA, some cosmetics, and prescriptions may contain milk products and should be carefully inspected.

Finding Alternatives

If one has to drink milk, they can try a few alternatives, for instance, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and other sources of getting milk-like nutrients. As far as protein content goes, soy milk and cow milk are comparable. It also has lower fat content. Almond milk is fortified with calcium and B12 vitamins. There are sweetened and unsweetened variations, and are also great sources of vitamin D. Coconut milk is also a great substitute for cow milk. It has a slightly better taste and contains added calcium needed by the body. One can also try vitamin supplements and consume foods like broccoli, spinach, and soy products, to regulate and maintain a well-balanced diet.

Understanding Milk Allergies

If a person is allergic to milk, their body will let them know through various symptoms. Thus, the first step in managing the allergy is to learn to recognize these symptoms. They include wheezing, hoarseness, coughing, tight throat, hives, vomiting, and diarrhea, among others. Continued consumption of milk when one has a milk allergy could lead to anaphylaxis, which is a medical emergency. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention and includes symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a shock drop in blood pressure, and facial flush, among others.

One must understand which foods are made from milk in order to avoid them. Many products today contain milk and an allergic individual must be cautious of what they eat. No matter how mild the symptoms are, if one suspects that they or a close family member has milk allergies, they should consult a doctor so that proper allergy testing can be done.