Cow Milk Allergy: Disrupts Family, Too

Along with gluten, eggs, fish, peanuts, soya, treenuts and shellfish, cows’ milk is also considered as one of the major allergy-inducing foods of the European Union.

Cow milk is the common cause of food allergy among infants and children. Approximately 2-3% of infants are affected, internationally.

Following are the major symptoms of cow milk allergy:

  • Skin rashes including eczema and atopic dermatitis
  • Wheezing, coughing and runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Failure to thrive (put on weight)
  • Distress

Hence, cow’s milk allergy (CMA) is causing considerable distress among family members. The following findings from an international survey depict the level of stress that family members face due to CMA:

  • About two-thirds of parents reported that CMA negatively affects the family life.
  • 70% of parents of children with CMA said that it makes them feel guilty and distressed.
  • 82% said that it has caused them to lose sleep.

Further, a survey commissioned by “Act Against Allergy” to find out the effect of CMA on family life revealed the following facts:

  • Half (49%) of the respondents have missed their work.
  • Over a third (38%) has argued with their spouse.
  • 39% reported that the lives of other children in the family have also been significantly affected.

Hence, Dr Martin Brueton, an “Act Against Allergy” Advisory Board Member and Emeritus Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK, said, “Having a child with cows’ milk allergy can be very stressful for parents. Until the child is properly diagnosed and put onto a suitable milk substitute, the impact on the parents and the family as a whole is considerable.

A baby with cows’ milk allergy suffers from an array of symptoms like skin rashes and gastric problems. The baby cries a lot, and sometimes may gain more weight. Parents are helpless as they cannot feed their infants more milk, as it compounds rather than solves the problem.

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