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Allergies and intolerances

Is it possible to be allergic to cow's milk but not formula?

9 replies

BirdyBedtime · 12/01/2010 08:57

About a month ago DS (almost 12mo)had a huge allergic reaction (hives) which has rumbled on since then. It comes and goes with new spots/blotches every day which then fade away within 24-48 hours, some days worse than others. Piriton doesn't seem to do anything. I've been keeping a food diary and can't identify anything that he's having every day other than ready brek, formula and either puds with milk in, milky sauces or cheese. So, while waiting for our dermatology referral (finally agreed yesterday by doc) to come through I decided to try a few days dairy free (although he is still having formula). He hasn't had any non-formula dairy since Saturday and this morning only has one or two faint spots, compared to the many he has had every day since before Christmas. I'm confused - is it possible to be allergic to 'normal' cows milk but not to formula??

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belgo · 12/01/2010 09:02

Most formula milks are cow's milk, so if he's allergic to cow's milk, he'll be allergic to cow's milk formula.

A cow's milk allergy usually presents itself at around three months of age.

If your ds had a sudden reaction at the age of one year, I wouldn't think it was due to cow's milk.

What you need to look at is what he ate when he had the first reaction, and it's possible that reaction has just taken a while to go completely.

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belgo · 12/01/2010 09:04

Other possible causes: washing powder; certain clothing materials; certain fruits/spices.

Of course I'm not a doctor and what I'm saying here should not override your doctor's advice.

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tatt · 12/01/2010 10:12

formula is processed and that generally makes foods less allergenic but normally a baby who a problem with milk allergy reacts to both ordinary formula and cows milk.

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ExplodingBananas · 12/01/2010 12:58

My DS had allergy testing and was tested for boiled and raw milk protien. He was only alergic to the raw milk protien and so I was told he would be fine with formula but not normal cows milk.

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BirdyBedtime · 12/01/2010 14:38

That is interesting Exploding. I hadn't thought about the possibility of having an allergy to one but not the other. Does that mean he can have food with cooked milk ie sauces etc? We eat loads of food with creamy/milky sauces as they are usually guaranteed to be eaten by my DD and are relatively quick and easy. If DS turns out to be milk allergic then it's going to mean a big shift in our diets (as I know it must for anyone with an allergic child), so I'm clutching at possible straws - and also totally pre-empting any testing we might end up going through!!!

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UnseenAcademicalMum · 14/01/2010 00:21

Perfectly possible to be allergic to cows milk but not formula. Formula has many of the cows milk proteins removed and so if your child is allergic to a minor protein it is likely to not be present in formula, but if allergic to casein/whey they will also be allergic to formula.

I had a colleague with exactly this problem, they just gave their dc formula (also in cooking) until they grew out of the allergy.

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cheesesarnie · 14/01/2010 00:29

ds2 had been fine with formula but was intolerant to cows milk produce.luckily he was fine with goats milk produce so it made life a bit easier!

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BirdyBedtime · 14/01/2010 09:01

Thanks Unseen - that could definitely explain it. I'd imagine that if it's an allergy to a minor protein then he'd be more likely to grow out of it? Do you know how long it took your colleague's DC to grow out of it?

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UnseenAcademicalMum · 14/01/2010 16:56

I'm not sure whether an allergy to a minor protein means he is more likely to grow out of it. My gut feeling would be that it is unlikely to make much difference.

However, the good news is that most children with milk allergy outgrow it by school-age. I was told by our consultant that those which haven't grown out of it by then, they will put in for a desensitisation programme, but I'm guessing that is hospital/area/consultant dependent and might be quite variable.

I'm not sure what age my colleague's dc grew out of their allergy though.

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