Milk (cow’s milk) is the most common food allergy in infants and children. It’s one of the top nine major food allergens identified by the FDA and is required to be listed on all food labels.

Symptoms of a milk allergy can vary. After ingesting it, people may experience:

  • Hives
  • Lip swelling
  • Mouth itching
  • Stomach upset
  • Congestion
  • Headache

Reactions may vary from exposure to exposure, as one reaction doesn’t always predict the next. For those highly allergic, there is a risk of a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.

Those with an allergy to milk should avoid cow's milk and any product containing milk, which may include: cheese, butter, cream, yogurt, ice cream, whey protein, and more. There are a host of dairy-free alternatives and substitutes to help avoid milk and potential reactions.

Allergy testing, exam, and history can diagnose a milk allergy and the specific level of sensitivity a person has to milk. Your provider may include specialized component testing that can identify specific proteins that indicate the allergy could be life-threatening, or if you can consume milk-containing products that have been baked, for example. After diagnosis, providers at AAOL may recommend allergy drop treatment following The La Crosse™ Method Protocol. This treatment introduces the body to milk (and other identified offending food allergens) through a liquid dose taken under the tongue. The dose is at a level that’s low enough to help build tolerance, but not too high to cause reactions.

Over time, the dose is slowly and safely increased until the body learns to not react when exposed to milk. This can lead to some patients being safe when accidentally exposed to milk, and others who are able to safely include milk back in their diets – depending on the severity of their allergy.

Good news for a milk-allergic child! An AAOL patient named Colton had his first life-threatening reaction to milk at seven months old. After successful allergy drop treatment, Graded Oral Food Challenges, guidance from AAOL dietitian, and continued retesting and monitoring, Colton is now free from his milk allergy – along with 12 other food allergies.

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Success Stories

by mom Noreen I can never thank Allergy Associates of La Crosse and Dr. Mary Morris enough for the amazing lifestyle difference and peace you have brought my son, Nicholas, and my family. I recently came across a picture of Nicholas prior to sublingual immunotherapy treatment at Allergy Associates of La Crosse and was taken…
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