Milk allergy

This problem is frequent in babies but most grow out of it by the age of five years. If you are cooking for children with a milk allergy, you need to be aware of the following:

• Proteins in milk, commonly casein and whey, trigger allergic reactions. These proteins are found in cows' and other mammals' milk; sheep and goats' milk are likely to cause similar reactions.

• Reactions are often mild and symptoms can affect many parts of the body. They include skin rashes, runny nose, and itchy eyes, gastro-intestinal symptoms such as cramps, diarrhoea, and vomiting, and breathing problems.

• In mild allergies, small amounts of processed dairy products such as cheese can be tolerated but not milk, cream, or yogurt.

• In severe cases of milk allergy, an anaphylactic reaction can develop within seconds and follow from a minute quantity of milk. All dairy products and traces of products must be avoided. Skin contact and, more rarely, inhaling milk proteins may also cause a reaction.

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