If you have a dairy allergy, you could experience headache, fever and cold hands after eating milk protein. You could also have additional symptoms including burning, swollen, itchy areas as part of an allergy-related condition called angioedema. Angioedema is not always severe, but if you experience trouble breathing and your throat is swelling, it is a health emergency, and you should immediately contact your doctor.
People with dairy allergy could be allergic to whey or casein or both. Whey is the liquid part of milk remaining after cheese or butter is made. Casein is the main milk protein. Dairy allergy usually causes gastrointestinal symptoms. The body's allergic reaction to milk protein can cause non-digestive symptoms, including a runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing and wheezing, and skin problems like rashes, hives and swelling. General swelling related to an allergic reaction could cause hands to feel cold.
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Fever is not usually listed as an allergy symptom, but your body is reacting to the attack of what it perceives as a foreign protein when you have dairy allergy. Some people with dairy allergy report a low fever or feeling hot and sweaty in conjunction with other dairy allergy symptoms, particularly nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The body's release of histamines in response to an allergen can cause a headache. Headache is usually associated with airborne allergies like hay fever or ragweed pollen. Dairy allergy can also cause swollen nasal passages and sinuses, leading to headache. It is unlikely that dairy allergy will cause headache without other digestive or respiratory symptoms.
Angioedema is an allergic reaction similar to hives. Red swollen areas around the mouth and eyes, and sometimes on the hands and soles of the feet, are additional signs of angioedema. You can also experience fever, visible hives, muscle pain and rash with angioedema. Swelling of your throat and trouble breathing is a sign of a more serious allergic reaction. In this case, you should contact a healthcare provider immediately.
Symptoms like mild headache, fever and cold hands after consuming foods containing dairy can be treated with antihistamines. Mild swelling or angioedema can also be treated with antihistamines. The University of Maryland Medical Center advises that mild angioedema will usually clear up in four days with or without medication. Avoiding foods containing dairy, including dairy-based additives such as whey, casein and sodium caseinate, will prevent future allergic reactions.
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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.