It is a fact that 2 to 6% of children suffer from casein allergies during their first year of life. If your child has a casein allergy, it’s essential to be careful about the foods they eat.
There is no cure for casein allergies, but there are steps you can take to help keep your child safe. It’s much more than avoiding milk and lactose intolerance but making sure that their little digestive systems continue to perform at optimal levels always.
Read on to learn more about how you can help keep your child safe and healthy while managing their allergic reaction to casein.
What Is Casein?
Casein is a type of protein found in milk and cheese. It’s also the main ingredient in most dairy-based products, which is why people with casein allergies need to be careful when it comes to what they eat.
Casein causes an immune system reaction when it’s ingested, and this can lead to a number of different symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild (such as an upset stomach) to severe (such as anaphylactic shock).
It’s important to note that not all people who are allergic to casein will have the same reactions. Some people may only experience the mild symptoms, while others may have more severe reactions.
Casein allergies are most commonly found in children, but they can also affect adults. If you think you may have a casein allergy, it’s important to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
Casein Allergy Symptoms
Casein allergy symptoms can easily be mistaken for other common ailments. This is why diagnosis is important at the first sign of these symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- an upset stomach
- difficulty breathing
- anaphylactic shock
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of the throat or lips
If your child experiences any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical help immediately.
Casein Allergies vs Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. Casein allergy is the allergy to the casein protein found in milk and cheese.
Both conditions can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. However, lactose intolerance is not life-threatening, while a casein allergy can be.
If you’re not sure whether your child has a casein allergy or lactose intolerance, it’s important to speak to a doctor. They can run tests, such as a blood test, to determine what is causing your child’s symptoms.
Casein Allergy Causes
In some people, the immune system’s response to casein can be too strong. This means that when they eat foods containing this protein, their bodies fight against it and in turn produce an adverse reaction on skin, hair, or both.
This is why many who have allergies struggle with dryness of the scalp, acne breakouts, dandruff, etc., which all result from over-reacting during digestion.
Some potential causes of this include:
- Genetics – if your child’s parents have a casein allergy, they are more likely to experience one themselves
- Exposure to cow’s milk – if a child is exposed to cow’s milk at an early age, they may be more prone to developing a casein allergy
- Environmental factors – exposure to cigarette smoke, pets, or other allergens may also increase the risk of developing a casein allergy
Casein Allergy Treatment
Yes, there are a few treatments and lifestyle changes that can help manage a casein allergy. One of the best ways to avoid symptoms is to avoid milk and other dairy-based products altogether. This can be difficult, but there are many substitutes available that can help.
If your child is experiencing mild symptoms, over-the-counter medications like antihistamines can help. For more severe symptoms, you may need to use prescription medications.
You or your child may need to carry an epinephrine injector in case of a severe allergic reaction.
Casein Allergy Diet
You can manage your casein allergy by following a strict diet. This means avoiding all foods that contain casein, as well as any products that may have come into contact with casein.
This can be difficult, as casein is found in many common foods, such as milk, cheese, ice cream, and butter. However, there are many substitutes available that don’t contain casein.
You may also need to avoid foods that contain lactose, as lactose is a sugar found in milk. This means avoiding all dairy products, even those that don’t contain casein. Dairy-free products are a great way to ensure that your child with a casein allergy can still enjoy some of their favorite foods.
There are also many lactose-free products available that can help you avoid symptoms, such as soy cheese or lactose-free milk.
Other Tips on Managing a Casein Allergy
Remember, there is no cure for casein allergies, but there are steps you can take to manage them including the dietary precautions mentioned above. The first step is to talk to your pediatrician about what foods are safe for your child. You’ll also want to read food labels carefully, as casein can be hidden in many processed foods.
When cooking for your child, be sure to use milk and cheese substitutes that are safe for them. It’s also important to have an emergency plan in place in case your child has a reaction. Talk to your child’s school and childcare providers about their allergy, and make sure they have emergency medication on hand in case of a reaction.
Being Allergic to Milk Isn’t Fun
Food allergies can be a real pain, especially when it comes to something as common as milk. If you or your child has a casein allergy, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers and know how to avoid them. With careful planning and management, you can help keep your child safe and healthy.
Need a casein allergy diagnosis? Visit the Southern California Food Allergy Institute for more information. We will help you every step of the way with treatment and advice to keep you and your family safe. Give us a call today!