One of the most common food allergies among children is a milk allergy, according to MayoClinic.com. Although the allergic reaction is typically related to cow’s milk, you may be allergic to other types of milk, such as that from goat and sheep. A milk allergy is commonly mistaken for lactose intolerance, which is a different condition that causes digestive symptoms. If you have a milk allergy, a common symptom is a skin rash. Hives and eczema are also common rashes associated with a milk allergy. Talk with your doctor if you suspect you are allergic to milk.
A milk allergy is a reaction of the immune system to the proteins in the milk. Kids Health explains that milk is made of two proteins: casein and whey. You may be allergic to one or both of the proteins in milk, but it is advisable that if you are allergic to one, you should also avoid the other. When you consume milk, your immune system reacts as if it was under attack and begins to form antibodies to fight off the milk proteins. This starts a chain reaction that releases histamines in various soft tissues in the body.
The result of increased histamine in the body is inflammation and irritation. Commonly, histamine affects the sinuses, the intestines, the lungs and the skin. As histamine is released in the skin, the surface becomes inflamed, triggering a rash, according to Kids Health. If you’re prone to eczema, a milk allergy can trigger an outbreak. For most, the increased histamine in the skin causes hives or a general rash.
Hives are a common skin rash associated with a milk allergy. Hives are clusters of welts that form in various shapes and sizes that are flat on the top and are very itchy, according to MedlinePlus. Hives can come and go and appear on any area of the body. They are generally harmless, unless they form in the throat or the inner ear. Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become hypersensitive to various triggers. A food allergy is a trigger that can result in blisters that weep and crust over.
The best treatment for a milk allergy that causes skin rashes is to avoid the consumption of dairy products, according to MayoClinic.com. MedlinePlus recommends placing a cold compress on the affected areas, wearing loose clothing and keeping the skin moisturized. Use topical steroid creams, such as hydrocortisone to treat the inflammation and itch.
Hives will appear as one of the first signs of anaphylactic shock, a rare but life-threatening condition. If you develop hives along with shortness of breath, lightheadedness and a rapid heart beat, call 911 for emergency medical attention.