An allergy to milk and milk products is the most common childhood food allergy. Typically, milk allergy symptoms occur a few minutes to a few hours after milk ingestion. Symptoms vary greatly from one person to the next and range from mild to severe. It is uncommon for a milk allergy to result in anaphylaxis. If you experience anaphylaxis symptoms related to a milk allergy, however, seek medical attention immediately, as these symptoms are life-threatening. Anaphylaxis symptoms include significant constriction of the airways resulting in difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure, itching, and flushing in the face [source:Mayo Clinic].
There are three different groups of milk-related allergies: skin reactions, stomach or intestinal reactions, and nose, throat, and lung reactions [source: Food Reactions]. Immediately after consuming milk, a person with a milk allergy will likely experience all three groups of symptoms. Typically, immediate symptoms include hives, wheezing, and vomiting [source: Mayo Clinic]. Milk allergy symptoms that typically take a bit longer to occur include bloody stools, loose stools, diarrhea, stomach cramps, coughing, runny nose, watery eyes, and skin rash. Infants with a milk allergy may become colicky [source: Mayo Clinic]. A colicky baby cries for long periods of time and is not easily soothed by a caregiver.
There are also other symptoms associated with milk allergies, including eczema, swelling of the lips, mouth, eyes, tongue, and throat, black eyes (also known as allergy shiners), gas, sneezing, and shortness of breath. Keep in mind, milk allergy symptoms are common for a variety of other food and nonfood allergies, such as hay fever [source: Food Reactions]. If you suspect that you or your child has a milk allergy, talk to your doctor, as a simple allergy test can confirm a milk allergy diagnosis.