What are the Most Common Dairy Allergy Symptoms?

Soymilk, a dairy-free milk.
Vomiting may be a sign of a dairy allergy.
Coughing might be the result of a dairy allergy that causes excess mucus.
Dairy products and eggs.
Hives typically stem from an allergic reaction.
An allergic reaction to dairy often causes stomach pain.
Excessive gas and diarrhea are signs of an allergy to dairy.
Many people have an allergy or intolerance to the lactose found in dairy products.
Slice of havarti cheese, which is made from cow's milk.
An Ayrshire cow, a type of dairy cow.
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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2015
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There are many different kinds of dairy allergy symptoms that can affect different areas of a person’s body. For starters, there are dairy allergy symptoms related to the digestive process, and these can include gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. For other patients, dairy allergy symptoms show up in other areas of the body and may cause things like hives or unexplained swelling. There are also a set of dairy allergy symptoms related to over-production of mucus, and this can lead to respiratory problems including coughing, gasping, and sniffling. For some patients, a dairy allergy has the potential to cause a dangerous condition called anaphylactic shock.

Dairy allergies differ distinctively from lactose intolerance, although the digestive symptoms of the two conditions are very similar. Most dairy allergies are a passing phase that people deal with as children, but this isn’t necessarily always true. For some people, dairy allergy symptoms can develop at any time later in life. It’s also possible for childhood dairy allergies to continue throughout a person’s life, although it isn’t very common.


When people develop dairy allergy symptoms, they are usually required to give up dairy products, at least for a period of time. Many of these people end up taking advantage of various dairy alternatives, including things like soymilk and rice milk. Some of these products can be used in cooking, and while the end result is often very different from using cow’s milk, some people eventually become accustomed to these foods and may even prefer them.

There are some dairy allergy sufferers who can take in small quantities of dairy, while others may develop symptoms from the smallest exposures. Certain foods contain very tiny amounts of dairy, and they can sometimes catch people by surprise. For example, potato chips might be processed in a way that involves small amounts of dairy, and there is also sometimes dairy in cold cuts of meat. When people are diagnosed with an allergy to dairy, the doctor will often give them a brief education about all the different kinds of foods they need to watch out for.

Some people also choose to utilize more aggressive treatment options for a dairy allergy. For example, they may take antihistamines, or they may take injections as a way to condition their body to tolerate dairy. These options aren’t usually recommended, but they can work in some situations.


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