Cow’s Milk Allergy Often Missed by Pediatricians

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Posted on: Oct 22 2010

Knowledge of the role of cow’s milk in causing allergic reactions in humans is not new. Indeed, the Greek physician Hippocrates (460–375 B.C.E.) observed that cow’s milk could cause skin rash and gastric problems.

According to Pediatric Annals, allergy to cow’s milk proteins is the most common food sensitivity issue a pediatrician will face today. Despite that, many pediatricians fail to make the proper diagnosis in cases of cow’s milk allergy. According to a survey reported in the Daily Mail, the majority of doctors fail to properly diagnose milk protein allergy in babies when it exists, leaving tens of thousands of babies without the right diagnosis.

The survey, which was conducted by the medical taskforce Act Against Allergy, also revealed that 78 per cent of pediatricians felt their colleagues were incapable of properly diagnosing the problem. Even when the correct diagnosis of milk protein allergy was made, the survey found that all too often physicians failed to recommend the right treatment for the babies under their care.

Jane Bell, a mother from London, England, reported that her daughter Lilly went months without a proper diagnosis. Her daughter was diagnosed with a “tummy bug” on 12 occasions before she finally collapsed from malnutrition at age 9 months. Following this she was properly diagnosed at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead.

Cow’s milk allergy can result in a wide variety of symptoms that include skin rash, hives, swelling, wheezing, congestion, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, nausea, watery eyes, runny nose, buildup of mucus, ear infections, headaches, skin discoloration, joint swelling, asthma, irritability, and colic.