The bright spot is that cow’s milk protein allergy will not stay lifelong with your child, and most of them will outgrow it.
Cow's Milk Protein Allergy: As a parent, you have to witness the ebb and flow of your infant’s health. There are specific ailments like cough, cold, which are prevalent during this time, and the majority of the parents are aware of it. However, food allergies are an entirely new concept with very few parents understanding the idea of allergy. It is for the benefit of all parents that we should spend some time and dive into the ‘not so’ known world of allergies. So, when a child consumes cow’s milk, he or she may develop a cow’s milk protein allergy. Another fact that has an essential bearing on CMPA is that bulk of the households do not consume cow’s milk and instead rely on buffalo’s milk. The protein element of the milk causes the allergy, so if a child is allergic to cow’s milk, he or she will develop an allergy to buffalo milk also.
- The symptoms of cow’s milk protein allergy start manifesting within the first year of a child’s life. The typical symptoms include three primary areas like Digestive, Respiratory and Skin. The digestive symptoms include vomiting, frequent regurgitation, colic, diarrhoea, blood in stool etc. while respiratory symptoms are wheeze and runny nose. Specific skin symptoms like hives, dry and itchy skin or swelling of lips are also seen.
- The shared symptoms of CMPA with other prevalent condition Lactose Intolerance exacerbates the diagnosis. Still, it is essential to reckon that although the signs on the surface have uncanny similarities, the root cause is entirely different. For example, in the case of lactose intolerance, the body is unable to digest a carbohydrate – lactose because it lacks enzyme lactase while in CMPA, the body is unable to understand the protein component of the milk
Identification is the key
- Dr Lalit Bharadia, Consultant Pediatric Gastroenterology, Santokba Durlabhji Memorial Hospital, Jaipur, states that there is a proper process in place to identify Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy. A doctor may begin with analyzing the medical and food intake history to pinpoint the allergy to Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy.
- Another method is the skin prick test, but they are often unable to detect all types of food allergies. One of the compelling ways is the elimination method in which, there is the complete elimination of cow’s milk from the diet to see if there is any advancement or reduction in the symptoms in 2-6 weeks. The Process ends with the reintroduction of cow’s milk on the menu. If the symptoms reappear, it confirms the diagnosis of Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy and calls for more prolonged elimination of dairy products, ensuring the alternative source meets nutrition.
- One of the effective ways to manage CMPA is to keep the child on a dairy elimination diet using extensively hydrolyzed formulas or amino acid formulas for six months. After that, reexamination is done to check if the infant has developed an acceptance for protein in the milk since CMPA occurs during the first 1000-day window, which is a critical time for a child’s growth.
Parents should not take the symptoms of CMPA lightly and consult a paediatrician quickly.
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