Q&A: Is milk off the menu for­ever?

Your Baby & Toddler - - The Dossier - Dr Marinda Mcdon­ald Al­lergy spe­cial­ist at the Rose­bank Al­lergy Clinic

Q: My tod­dler was di­ag­nosed with a cow’s milk al­lergy about eight months ago. Does this re­ally mean she won’t be able to en­joy dairy for the rest of her life? A: Often when a child is di­ag­nosed with a cow’s milk al­lergy, the par­ents sim­ply avoid feed­ing milk or milk-based prod­ucts through­out the child’s en­tire child­hood. How­ever, chil­dren can some­times out­grow milk al­ler­gies. There­fore avoid­ing milk or all dairy means that they’re un­nec­es­sar­ily miss­ing out on re­ceiv­ing milk pro­teins that are vi­tal to their de­vel­op­ment.

The man­age­ment of a cow’s milk al­lergy in in­fants needs to be a longterm strat­egy given the risk of poor nu­tri­tion and re­duced qual­ity of life.

In­fants who suf­fer from this al­lergy need to be con­stantly mon­i­tored. This is why it is im­por­tant to have reg­u­lar check-ups with an al­lergy spe­cial­ist. A doc­tor needs to keep check­ing the chil­dren and chal­leng­ing their sys­tems.

Un­di­ag­nosed milk al­ler­gies may be equally detri­men­tal to a child’s de­vel­op­ment. There is of course the risk of a child ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ana­phy­laxis, which is po­ten­tially life threat­en­ing. There is also a con­di­tion known as non-ige-me­di­ated cow’s milk al­lergy, which presents symptoms such as an up­set stom­ach with or with­out blood in the stool, as well as se­vere eczema, colic and/or rhini­tis. This is the most dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose since the child’s blood tests often yield neg­a­tive re­sults. Left unchecked, this could lead to dam­age to the or­gans, such as the oe­soph­a­gus or liver.

Chil­dren with milk pro­tein al­lergy also need ad­e­quate diet plans to re­place the nu­tri­ents that they are not get­ting due to this al­ler­gic con­di­tion. To start, one can’t use any mam­malian milk to re­place cow’s milk. Goat’s or mare’s milk are still likely to trig­ger al­ler­gies. Soya milk is also con­tro­ver­sial be­cause of the phy­toe­stro­gens it con­tains. Most guide­lines state that it should not be used be­fore six months. There is also a 50 per­cent chance of chil­dren with nonIGE milk al­lergy hav­ing re­ac­tions to it.

Ad­e­quate nu­tri­tion is the most im­por­tant as­pect to re­mem­ber. I have seen chil­dren who are mal­nour­ished and who de­velop a host of ad­di­tional prob­lems as a re­sult of their di­ets not be­ing sup­ple­mented with suit­able milk sub­sti­tutes.

Keep th­ese three things in mind at all times: en­sure an ac­cu­rate di­ag­no­sis, be con­sis­tent in your fol­low-ups with med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, and al­ways pro­vide the cor­rect nu­tri­tion to the child. YB

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.