How to Cope with a Milk Allergy

Three Parts:Preventing Allergic ReactionsFinding Milk AlternativesUnderstanding Milk Allergies

A milk allergy is a fairly common ailment that usually develops in children and babies. It can, however, be a life-threatening condition if not treated properly. A milk allergy is different than lactose intolerance, but still involves some of the same treatment. With a little conscientious food shopping and diligent adherence to milk avoidance, you can live a pretty normal life even if you have a milk allergy.

Part 1
Preventing Allergic Reactions

  1. 1
    Talk to your doctor. If you suspect that you are allergic to milk, talk to your doctor immediately no matter how mild the symptoms. These symptoms will worsen over time, so it is important to catch the allergy in the beginning before your symptoms become too severe.[1]
    • Your doctor can council you about whether or not you are allergic, what to do if you are allergic, and how to get the proper testing to confirm that you are allergic to milk.
  2. 2
    Undergo allergy testing. Once your doctor recommends you to an allergist, you will probably get either a skin-prick test or a blood test to determine if you have a milk allergy. Both tests look for traces of immunoglobulin E antibodies, which are a sign that you do, in fact, have a milk allergy.[2]
    • A skin-prick test is just what the name sounds like. Your skin is pricked by a little probe containing some milk extract and the doctor waits to see if your skin reacts to it – usually within 15-20 minutes.
  3. 3
    Avoid drinking milk and milk products. If you are allergic to milk, you should not drink it under any circumstance. But this means that you need to be diligent in avoiding products made with milk as well.[3]
    • This includes butter, buttermilk, casein, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, custard, half-and-half, sour cream, whey, and yogurt.

Part 2
Finding Milk Alternatives

  1. 1
    Read all food labels carefully. Some foods, even those marked dairy free, are made with milk or milk products. It is important that you read all labels on food products extremely carefully if you have a milk allergy.[4]
    • Avoid products with a “D” on them. This means they contain dairy.
    • Many processed meats contain milk as well.
  2. Image titled Cope with a Milk Allergy Step 2
    Look for milk alternatives. If you can't stand to be away from milk because you love cereal in the morning, then try soy milk instead of milk from cows. Animal milk contains lactose (hence: lactose intolerance) that your body isn't handling as it should. Using alternatives will allow you to keep your cereal without the symptoms.[5]
    • In addition to soy milk, you can try almond milk or coconut milk that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
  3. 3
    Find other methods to get the necessary vitamins and minerals. Milk and other dairy products are an important source of many nutrients that people, especially children, need – like calcium, protein, vitamin D, etc.[6]
    • Try vitamin supplements to help regulate your diet.
    • Also try to consume more broccoli, spinach, and soy products as this will also help you maintain a well-balanced diet.

Part 3
Understanding Milk Allergies

  1. 1
    Learn the difference between milk allergies and lactose intolerance. A milk allergy is a condition that affects your immune system. When you are allergic to milk (usually to specific proteins found in milk), your body views these substances as foreign invaders that need to be fought off.[7]
    • Lactose intolerance is a condition that affects your digestive system. It occurs when someone is unable to properly digest the proteins found in milk and other dairy products.
  2. 2
    Recognize the symptoms of milk allergies. If you are allergic to milk, your body will let you know through a variety of symptoms. These symptoms will probably get increasingly more severe as time goes on if you keep consuming milk. Some symptoms of milk allergies include:[8]
    • Wheezing
    • Coughing
    • Hoarseness
    • Tight Throat
    • Stomachache
    • Hives
    • Swelling
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Itchy or swollen eyes
  3. Image titled Cope with a Milk Allergy Step 1
    Understand what foods are made from milk. If you know what items have milk in them, you’ll be better able to avoid it. Obviously, many products contain milk and milk proteins. If you fail to be cautious with the food you eat, then you could suffer from increasingly bad symptoms as a result of your milk allergy.[9]
    • You should also stay away from yogurt, shakes, cheese, cream, whey, and any other milk product.


  • Some people become more prone to the symptoms milk allergies as they get older. Monitor your consumption accordingly.


  • There is no set amount of dairy that will cause noticeable symptoms. Use trial and error to determine your sensitivity.

Article Info

Categories: Allergies and Immunization