3% In­dian kids have cow milk al­lergy

Deccan Chronicle - - CITY - KANIZA GARARI | DC

Three out of 100 in­fants in In­dia suf­fer from cow’s milk al­lergy, caus­ing vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhoea. As there is no bio­chem­i­cal or skin prick test to de­tect cow’s milk al­lergy, it is only through di­ag­no­sis it can be de­ter­mined.

Pae­di­a­tri­cians, nu­tri­tion­ists and pae­di­atric gy­nae­col­o­gists state that many clin­i­cal and re­search stud­ies have been un­der­taken to iden­tify the prob­lem among tod­dlers from 0 to 3 years of age. Out of the 25 dif­fer­ent pro­teins in cow’s milk, it was four pro­teins which cause the al­lergy in chil­dren.

The al­lergy leads to dam­age to the in­testi­nal mu­cosa which re­sults in in­tol­er­ance of pro­tein. At the clin­i­cal level, moth­ers are not aware of this con­di­tion and it is of­ten mis­di­ag­nosed as in­fec­tive di­ar­rhoea.

Dr Prashant Bachina, pe­di­atric gas­troen­terol­o­gist and hep­a­tol­o­gist, said, “Sev­eral episodes of vom­it­ing and bloody di­ar­rhoea get mis­di­ag­nosed as in­fec­tive one. Young in­fants are put on an­tibi­otics and if there is no im­prove­ment they are re­ferred to higher cen­tres or a gas­troen­terol­o­gist. The di­ag­no­sis is purely on the his­tory of the child whose feed cy­cles and the milk con­sumed by the mother are ac­counted for. Of­ten moth­ers are asked to con­sume more milk so that they get bet­ter breast feed. In other cases, when the mother’s milk is not suf­fi­cient and there are sup­ple­ments made out of cow’s milk used to feed the baby. Of­ten th­ese chil­dren are not able to di­gest the pro­teins and they re­quire other sup­ple­ments where the pro­teins are in ba­sic form to help them di­gest and grow.”

The gov­ern­ment has now al­lowed ex­ten­sively hy­drolyzed and amino acid for­mula milk in the In­dian mar­ket. In­fants who are al­ler­gic to cow’s milk are rec­om­mended th­ese ad­vanced for­mula sup­ple­ments so that re­cur­rent di­ar­rhoea stops.

Be­fore the avail­abil­ity of th­ese sup­ple­ments, soya for­mula milk was pre­scribed but 1 per cent of the chil­dren re­acted to th­ese sup­ple­ments too.

Dr Nan­dan Joshi, a sci­en­tist and a nu­tri­tion­ist ex­plained, “Iden­ti­fy­ing cow’s milk al­lergy is a tough task for young moth­ers. The 3 per cent of chil­dren who suf­fer from this al­lergy have a tough time and their growth is af­fected. The in­tol­er­ance is re­duced only when they are off milk and of­ten th­ese chil­dren are weaned away within eight to nine months and brought com­pletely on com­pli­men­tary foods.”

MILK AL­LERGY is a tough task for young moth­ers. The 3% chil­dren who suf­fer from this al­lergy have a tough time and their growth is af­fected. The in­tol­er­ance is re­duced when they are weaned away within eight to nine months.

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