There is a difference between being allergic to Dairy products , and being lactose intolerant.
This great article on FARE [ Food Allergy Research and Education] is one of the best we have found describing the differences and foods to watch out for.
Allergy to cow’s milk is the most common food allergy in infants and young children. Symptoms of a milk allergy reaction can range from mild, such as hives, to severe, such as anaphylaxis. Therefore it is advised that people with milk allergy have quick access to an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen®, Auvi-Q® or Adrenaclick®) at all times. To prevent a reaction, strict avoidance of cow’s milk and cow’s milk products is essential. Always read ingredient labels to identify cow’s milk ingredients.
Approximately 2.5 percent of children younger than three years of age are allergic to milk. Nearly all infants who develop an allergy to milk do so in their first year of life. Most children eventually outgrow a milk allergy. The allergy is most likely to persist in children who have high levels of cow’s milk antibodies in their blood. Blood tests that measure these antibodies can help your allergist determine whether or not a child is likely to outgrow a milk allergy.
Sensitivity to cow’s milk varies from person to person. Some people have a severe reaction after ingesting a tiny amount of milk. Others have only a mild reaction after ingesting a moderate amount of milk. Reactions to milk can be severe and life-threatening
Differences between Milk Allergy and Lactose Intolerance
Milk allergy should not be confused with lactose intolerance. A food allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to a specific food protein. When the food protein is ingested, in can trigger an allergic reaction that may include a range of symptoms from mild symptoms (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) to severe symptoms (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). A food allergy can be potentially fatal.
Unlike food allergies, food intolerances do not involve the immune system. People who are lactose intolerant are missing the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. As a result, lactose-intolerant patients are unable to digest these foods, and may experience symptoms such as nausea, cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea. While lactose intolerance can cause great discomfort, it is not life-threatening.
Avoid foods that contain milk or any of these ingredients:
- Butter, butter fat, butter oil, butter acid, butter ester(s)
- Casein hydrolysate
- Caseinates (in all forms)
- Cottage cheese
- Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
- Milk (in all forms, including condensed, derivative, dry, evaporated, goat’s milk and milk from other animals, lowfat, malted, milkfat, nonfat, powder, protein, skimmed, solids, whole)
- Milk protein hydrolysate
- Rennet casein
- Sour cream, sour cream solids
- Sour milk solids
- Whey (in all forms)
- Whey protein hydrolysate
Milk is sometimes found in the following:
- Artificial butter flavor
- Baked goods
- Caramel candies
- Lactic acid starter culture and other bacterial cultures
- Luncheon meat, hot dogs, sausages
- Nondairy products
Some Unexpected Sources of Milk*
- Deli meat slicers are frequently used for both meat and cheese products.
- Some brands of canned tuna fish contain casein, a milk protein.
- Many non-dairy products contain casein (a milk derivative), listed on the ingredient labels.
- Some specialty products made with milk substitutes (i.e., soy-, nut- or rice-based dairy products) are manufactured on equipment shared with milk.
- Some meats may contain casein as a binder. Check all labels carefully.
- Shellfish is sometimes dipped in milk to reduce the fishy odor. Ask questions about the risk of milk contact when purchasing shellfish.
- Many restaurants put butter on steaks after they have been grilled to add extra flavor. The butter is not visible after it melts.
- Some medications contain milk protein.
Keep in mind the following:
- Individuals who are allergic to cow’s milk are often advised to also avoid milk from other domestic animals. For example, goat’s milk protein is similar to cow’s milk protein and may, therefore, cause a reaction in individuals who have a milk allergy.
- Kosher Dairy: A “D” or the word “dairy” following the circled K or U on a product label indicates the presence of milk protein or a risk that the product is contaminated with milk protein. These products should be avoided.
- Kosher Pareve: A product labeled “pareve” is considered milk-free under kosher dietary law. However, a food product may be considered pareve even if it contains a very small amount of milk protein – potentially enough to cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. Do not assume that pareve-labeled products will always be safe
“Allergy to cow’s milk proteins has been defined as any adverse reaction mediated by immunological mechanisms to one or several of these proteins. Reactions to cow’s milk have been classified according on their onset as immediate (< 45 min) or delayed-type (from 2 hours to days). In the challenge test, 10 hours after milk intake the patient presented serous rhinorrea, sneezing and nasal blockade.”
J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol, 1998 Jul, 8:4
“…62.7% of the children were confirmed to be allergic to milk…” (153 hospitalized infants with pneumonia or bronchitis were tested)
Roczniki Akademii Medycznej 1995; 40(3) (Polish Journal)
“Allergy to cow’s milk protein often persists beyond 4 years of age. Clinical presentation changed over time: at onset symptoms were prevalently gastrointestinal, while at the end of the study there was an increased frequency of wheezing and constipation and a higher frequency of delayed reactions…infants with persistent cow’s milk protein intolerance exhibited atopic disease: asthma, rhinitis, eczema.”
Clin Exp Allergy, 1998 Jul, 28:7
“Cow’s milk is one of the most frequent food allergens. Whole casein appears to be highly allergenic…85% of the patients presented a response to each of the four caseins. “
Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 1998 Mar, 115:3
“Symptoms of milk-protein allergy include cough, choking, gasping, nose colds, asthma, sneezing attacks…”
Annals of Allergy, 1951; 9
“Symptoms seen most frequently in babies who are identified as allergic to cow’s milk included diarrhea, repeated vomiting, eczem, recurrent attacks of nasal congestion, and recurrent bronchitis.”
Frank Oski, M.D., Don’t Drink Your Milk
“Some textbooks of pediatrics either avoid mentioning cow’s milk allergy or only lightly refer to it…On the other hand, there are those, particularly among pediatricians, and to a lesser extent among general practitioners, who over-zealously label infants ‘milk sensitive’ and who are inclined to recommend discontinuing the use of cow’s milk whenever an infant has a gastrointestinal upset, respiratory symptom, or a skin rash.”
Allergies to Milk, 1980 SL Bahna, M.D., DC Heiner, M.D.