If you have a cheese allergy, your body initiates an abnormal immune response to the presence of this food product in your body. Also known as a milk allergy, this condition affects 2 to 5 percent of children during the first 12 months of life, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports. If you or your child develop symptoms of a cheese allergy, speak with your doctor for further evaluation and care.
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Stomach upset is the most common symptom of a cheese allergy experienced by people who consume cheese products. Such symptoms typically arise within 2 hours of consuming the allergen and can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. Additional symptoms such as bloating, loss of appetite and abdominal pain can also occur.
An allergy to cheese can cause severe skin reactions to develop after ingesting a cheese-containing product. Red, itchy welts (hives) can develop across your body, which can appear swollen or irritated. Certain people can also develop eczema (atopic dermatitis) after consuming cheese products. Eczema can cause you to develop itchy patches of skin across your body that become thickened and dry. The skin can appear red and inflamed and can begin to flake off. Scratching at irritated or itchy skin caused by a cheese allergy can lead to infection, which may require additional treatment by a doctor.
Breathing problems can develop if an allergic person eats cheese. You can develop slow, shallow breathing or shortness of breath. You may also experience swelling of the tongue or throat, which can interfere with your ability to breathe normally. If you or your child has asthma in addition to a cheese allergy, consuming cheese can initiate an asthma attack. An asthma attack can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness or rapid breathing. Such symptoms require immediate medical attention to prevent further complications.
If you have a severe allergy to cheese, eating or handling food items that contain cheese can cause anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause severe symptoms to develop in response to an allergen. Symptoms of anaphylaxis typically arise within minutes of exposure to an allergen and can cause nausea, wheezing, convulsions, swelling of the lips, severe breathing difficulty, skin rash, increased heart rate or loss of consciousness. This condition can be fatal and requires immediate emergency medical care.