When we think of food allergies, the one that comes to mind is peanuts. Peanut allergies seem to be the one that parents worry about the most, and for good reason. A lot of peanut allergic kids have a very severe allergy, and can't even be exposed to peanut proteins in the air. It's certainly terrifying, since you can't control the outside world and protect your kids at every turn. There are so many different food allergies of varying severity. But new research points to one allergy in particular that seems to be the most prevalent.
A new study shows that more than half of food-allergic kids under the age of 1 in the United States are affected by a milk allergy. Allergies to cow's milk are the most common food allergies in kids under the age of 5. This is especially concerning considering how much cow's milk kids drink during childhood.
The study was presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting. Researchers surveyed more than 53,000 parents in households with kids over a one year period, from October 2015 to September 2016. The data shows that over two percent of all children under the age of 5 in the United States have a milk allergy. Additionally, 53% of babies under the age of one have an allergy to cow's milk. This suggests that while cow's milk allergies may be prevalent in infancy, it appears as though most kids outgrow their allergies. The number drops to 41% of 1-2 year olds, 34% of 3-5 year olds, and 15% of 11-17 year olds.
Researchers also found that there is some confusion around what constitutes an actual milk allergy. Kids can have a milk intolerance which parents can mistake for an allergy, and will proceed to cut out dairy products in an attempt to control it. But a food intolerance is different than an allergy.
People who are intolerant of cow's milk can still theoretically consume it, albeit with some unpleasant after-effects. But food allergies of any kind can have a huge impact on a household and the lifestyle of the allergic person. It effects everything from finances, food choices, and quality of life. It's incredibly important if you suspect your child has an allergy to cow's milk that you have your child tested and the allergy confirmed by an allergist.
Kids with cow's milk allergies can be counseled on how to avoid milk, without unnecessarily cutting out some foods and losing necessary nutrients.
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