This is an interesting piece. Been doing some reading into CMA and found this, it has given me a good overview on the condition. Useful to refer to.
Allergies can be difficult to live with. Even with current medicinal aids, allergies can have a large effect on a person’s life, especially when it comes to children. Children, after all, are dependent on the care of their parents, and this is a huge responsibility for any guardian to undertake. This responsibility can be even more overwhelming when the allergy is to something such as Cow’s Milk. Cow’s milk is prominent in many of the foods we eat on a day to day basis, so making sure your child is given a balanced diet will be a little more complicated. Young children need protein in order to grow and develop, and this can be difficult when their diet is restricted. Effectively managing a cow’s milk allergy in children is achievable and manageable, so long as you’re well informed and prepared.
Parents need to be aware of the symptoms a cow’s milk allergy can cause. There are both immediate and delayed signs that you should keep an eye out for. Immediate symptoms occur from seconds to two hours after the consumption of cow’s milk and include lip swelling, hives, breathing difficulties and rashes. Delayed symptoms tend to be more severe, such as nausea, diarrhoea, blood in the stools, weight loss and weight gain. In rarer cases, the child might experience anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis typically begins with some of the same symptoms found in a typical allergic reaction, but will worsen. The deceptive nature of the illness can make it difficult to identify, but it can result in tightness of breath, dizziness and loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis can be life threatening and must be dealt with as soon as possible.
If you’ve seen such symptoms in your child, be sure to consult a doctor to confirm if the cause is a cow’s milk allergy. Your first priority in this case is to make sure that it’s an allergy as opposed to lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance can produce similar symptoms to that of a cow’s milk allergy, but they are not the same thing. Lactose intolerance is when the digestive system cannot provide enough of the lactase enzyme, which helps to digest the sugar found in milk, known as lactose. An allergy, in this case, is a reaction to one or both of the two proteins found in milk: caseins and whey. A health care professional will be able to distinguish the difference based on the child’s symptoms, and you can go from there. Parents may be provided with an epinephrine pen for use in emergencies.
If your child is still in the stages of infancy and is being breastfed, then the mother will have to cut out any product’s containing cow’s milk until the weaning stages. If parents are providing their children with formula, then they should consider Extensively hydrolysed formulas and Amino-Acid based formulas, both of which can be prescribed by a doctor and will provide the child with the nutrients they need. If the child is older, then dietary readjustments will need to be made in order to reduce the risk of an allergy attack. Some products will be easy enough to avoid, such as butter and cheese, but many foods contain ‘hidden dairy products’ which must be avoided. Soy based products, for example, contain these hidden dairy products, as do granola bars and deli meats. The best option in this case is to provide your child with ‘vegan friendly’ foods, as these won’t contain any animal product, and be sure to inspect the labels on food packaging very carefully.
Ultimately, a child with a cow’s milk allergy will need to understand what they can and cannot eat as young as possible. This can be challenging, but the best way for your child to cope with their allergy is through education and reinforcement. It reduces the risk of an allergic reaction and will help the child to understand that their allergy is manageable. Once the child is in control of their condition, coping with the allergy will become significantly easier.