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Highland Park Allergy and Asthma Specialists

  • Writer's pictureHP Allergy and Asthma Specialists

We will be closed on Thursday, February 3rd due to the likely icy road conditions. We will resume normal business hours the following week. Dr. Clarke will be on call if you need anything.

Please stay warm and stay safe!

  • Writer's pictureHP Allergy and Asthma Specialists

Cow’s milk allergy is the most common food allergy in infants and young children. Approximately 2-3% of children younger than 3 years old are allergic to milk. Milk allergy accounts for about 1/5 of all childhood food allergies. Usually, milk allergy presents in the first year of life. The majority of people who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to goat’s and sheep’s milk.

There are different kinds of milk “allergy”. Below are the most common:

1.) IgE-mediated milk allergy: This is an allergy mediated by the allergic antibody in your blood. Symptoms usually start within minutes of eating cow’s milk but can be as late as 2 hours later. Symptoms can involve hives, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, SOB, coughing, wheezing, increased runny nose, and lightheadedness. In infants they can be very sleepy or fussy as well. These reactions can range from mild to life-threatening. The majority (~80%) will outgrow cow’s milk allergy by the age of 16. While rare, for some people, milk allergy can persist into adulthood.

2.) Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES): This is a food allergy that is not mediated by the allergic antibody. It is most common in infants. FPIES usually presents as severe vomiting and diarrhea within 2-4 hours of eating cow’s milk containing products. The symptoms are so severe that patients can develop severe dehydration leading to shock in some cases. If a patient has chronic exposure to cow’s milk, the symptoms can be a little more subtle including failure to thrive (or grow normally), spitting up, and diarrhea. FPIES can arise from other foods but cow’s milk is one of the most common offending allergens.

3.) Food Protein-Induced Proctocolitis: This is also not mediated by the allergic antibody. Food protein-induced proctocolitis usually presents by 6 months of age and is characterized by bloody-streak, mucousy, loose stools. Cow’s milk is one of the most common triggers for this. Nearly all infants will be able to tolerate cow’s milk by age one.

What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?

A milk allergy is mediated by your immune system. It occurs when your immune system reacts to cow’s milk like it is a dangerous invader, such as a cold or the flu. A milk allergy can be life-threatening. A milk intolerance is usually a lactose intolerance. In lactose intolerance, your body cannot digest the sugar in milk, specifically lactose because they do not have the enzyme to do so (lactase). Lactose intolerance is not mediated by the immune system and is not life threatening.

Your allergist will be able to tell what kind of reaction you have to milk by taking a detailed history and with allergy skin testing. Then they can help you come up with the appropriate treatment plan. Call us if you want to be seen for a possible milk allergy.

  • Writer's pictureHP Allergy and Asthma Specialists

Help loved ones avoid wheezing and sneezing this holiday season

If you’re wondering what to get the loved ones in your life for the holidays, consider the gift of health – or at least the offer of relief from allergy and asthma symptoms. The holidays can be tough to navigate for those with allergies and asthma. Everyone wants this time of year to be picture-perfect, but when there are runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing involved, the picture is less than ideal. There are steps you can take to make your celebrations more fun and joy-filled for the whole family.

These five tips can help you navigate the holidays and ensure only a certain reindeer has a red nose.

1. So many tempting treats – Cookies, cakes and other delights may very well contain an ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. If you are attending parties at others’ houses, let them know what foods you need to steer clear of, and bring some dishes you’re certain you and your clan can safely eat. Consider hosting the gathering, which will make controlling food ingredients easier. Some hosts put labels on food so everyone knows what’s inside. Always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors in case you accidently eat something you didn’t know contained the item you’re allergic to.

2. A roaring fire can be a smoky hazard – Not everyone knows that smoke is a risk for those with asthma. Whether it’s a fire in a fireplace or holiday candles burning, anything that produces smoke can prompt an asthma attack. In addition, aerosols such as air fresheners and artificial snow, as well as potpourri and other scents, while not allergic triggers, can be irritants to already inflamed airways. They can cause sneezing and sniffling among your guests and are best avoided.

3. To grandmother’s house we go – If you’re traveling for the holidays and have allergies or asthma, make sure you pack all the medications for your family, including at least two epinephrine auto injectors for anyone who has been prescribed one. Some hotels now offer allergy-free rooms, so ask about that option when making your reservation. If you’re allergic to dust mites, bring your allergy-blocking bedding. And take medications well in advance if you know you’ll be dealing with a dog or cat that makes your pet allergies flare.

4. Holly, jolly and sneeze-free – Christmas trees are lovely to look at, but they can cause skin and eye irritation. If you are someone who has contact skin allergies to a substance called terpene found in the sap of trees, you may suffer an allergic reaction to your tree. In addition, some live trees have mold spores and pollen on them, which when carried into the house can kick your nasal allergies into gear. Rinse off live trees before you bring them in to avoid allergy symptoms. If you have an artificial tree and decorations that you use every year, they can accumulate dust and mold. Clean them before using them again this year.

5. Coats and scarves for a winter wonderland – If outdoor fun will be part of your holiday plans, make sure everyone is properly bundled up. Those with asthma need to be aware that extremely cold, dry air can be a trigger. If it’s very cold outside, cover mouths and noses with a scarf or face mask.

Credit: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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