Fatigue can be a sign of food allergy, including milk protein allergy. It may be related to other chronic symptoms of the allergy, such as coughing, running or stuffy nose and digestive problems, that interfere with your sleep. Consult your doctor for help in identifying the cause of your tiredness. Allergy testing can be performed to determine if a milk allergy is the culprit.
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Other symptoms of milk allergy may include hives, wheezing and vomiting. Over time, these may be accompanied by loose or bloody stools, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, coughing, wheezing, runny nose, watery eyes and an itchy rash, often around the mouth. Milk allergy symptoms usually begin within a few minutes to a few hours after drinking milk or consuming a food containing milk.
Milk allergy is a reaction to the casein proteins in milk and other dairy products. When people with milk allergy consume these foods, the body mounts an immune response by producing antibodies to the protein and releasing histamine into the blood. Unfortunately, many foods contain hidden sources of milk, including processed meats, candies and soy products. As a result, it may be difficult to identify this allergy simply by tracking your response to dairy foods.
Your doctor will probably refer you to an allergist for testing if milk allergy is suspected. Skin prick testing may be used to examine your body's response to a small amount of milk protein. In some cases, a blood sample will be obtained and combined with the casein protein to look for antibodies.
The only way to prevent the symptoms of milk allergy is to eliminate all sources of milk protein from your diet. This can be challenging since many processed foods contain casein in various forms. Antihistamines are sometimes used to help manage the symptoms of milk allergy. Allergy shots are not successful in the treatment of milk allergy but studies are ongoing.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.