Milk Allergy


This food allergy is an immune system response most often linked to cow's milk. It happens when a person's immune system treats harmless milk proteins as if they're a danger to the body. We see it most often in kids. Most of them will outgrow the milk allergy, but not all do.


What happens when a person with this allergy is exposed to milk? Well, they may have a wide range of reactions. Their face, lips, mouth or throat may swell. They may have red spots on their skin. They may itch and break out in hives. They may have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. They may have a runny nose and watery eyes. And babies with this allergy may have frequent fussiness and long periods of crying we call "colic."


If the reaction is severe, they may have trouble breathing. They may go into shock and lose consciousness. We call this "anaphylaxis." It's an emergency. Get medical help as soon as possible.

Managing this allergy

To manage a milk allergy, avoid milk and all foods that contain it. Read food labels carefully. While things like butter, yogurt, cheese and ice cream may be obvious sources, watch for milk where you may not expect it. Milk derivatives may be found in things like sausage and canned tuna.

Other tips

And finally, if you're a new mother whose baby has a milk allergy, know that breastfeeding may still be OK. That's because this allergy is usually linked to animal milk, not your own milk. For more info, talk to your doctor.