5 Signs You're Allergic To Dairy That You Should Keep An Eye Out For

A dairy allergy is a tricky thing. It’s one of the most common allergies in children — but some people don’t grow out of it. And since our bodies are constantly changing, it never hurts to look for signs that you’re allergic to dairy.

Even if you weren’t allergic as a child, knowing these signs and symptoms will help you get in tune with your body. It comes down to paying attention to the way you react after eating certain foods. If something unpleasant happens, it’s up to you to take action.

Remember, an allergy isn’t the same as an intolerance. An allergy involves a hypersensitivity of the immune system. The body attacks foreign substances that wouldn’t cause an issue in most people. Basically, it goes into damage control the moment a milk product enters your body.

As for an intolerance? The immune system doesn’t come into play. Instead, your body isn’t able to break down food. Hello, stomach problems.

If you’re not sure where to begin, start with this list. If any of these happen when you consume dairy, talk to an allergist. He or she will help you understand exactly what you should avoid. Your body will thank you!

1. Swollen throat

When your immune system thinks it's under attack, it reacts by releasing a chemical called histamine. Other chemicals, such as IgE antibodies, are also released. These guys cause swelling and inflammation throughout your entire body. Often, your throat is the first to feel it.

For many, a swollen throat is one of the first signs of a food-related allergic reaction. If this happens after consuming dairy, take some allergy medicine as soon as possible. You can also help soothe your throat by gulping down some cold water.

2. Wheezing and coughing

A swollen throat can eventually lead to wheezing and a pesky cough. You might also have a hard time breathing, which can be frustrating and scary. Experiencing this is a pretty good sign that an appointment with your doctor should be on the agenda.

3. Hives

When it comes to allergic reactions, some people develop a skin rash called hives. These are characterized by smooth, pink bumps that cause a burning sensation. They can develop anywhere on the body within just a few minutes.

This is another result of the immune system causing inflammation in response to an allergen. If you develop hives after eating dairy, try scrubbing the area with soap and water. The hives will also subside after taking allergy medicine. Try your best to not furiously scratch the heck out of the bumps; this may lead to scarring and bleeding. Ouch.

4. Facial flushing

Another result of an inflamed immune system is facial flushing. Sometimes, the skin on the neck and chest may also become flushed. It's usually accompanied with a rise in body temperature. The skin may be warm to the touch, too.

If you have facial flushing after eating dairy, it's likely that you also have one or more of the previous signs. This is your body's way of telling you that something is up.

5. Abdominal cramps

Over time, a dairy allergy may lead to abdominal cramps. This symptom is typically seen in a dairy intolerance, when the body is unable to break the food down. However, abdominal cramps can develop if you've been consistently eating dairy before knowing that you're even allergic.

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