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This Factsheet aims to answer some of the questions which you and your family may have about living with cow’s milk allergy, as well as providing advice to help you to understand and minimise risks. Cow’s milk allergy is a common cause of symptoms in babies and very young children. In most cases the allergy is outgrown, but occasionally it persists into adulthood. Brief medical references are given in brackets with full references provided at the end of the Factsheet.
There are two main types of cow’s milk allergy.
1. Immediate cow’s milk allergy - where a reaction occurs within seconds or minutes of contact with cow’s milk or a product containing cow’s milk. Although symptoms usually occur rapidly, on rare occasions they can begin up to two hours after contact with cow’s milk.
2. Delayed cow’s milk allergy – where symptoms can occur several hours or even days after ingestion of milk.
There are other conditions where cow’s milk is the trigger such as Lactose Intolerance, Cow’s milk-induced proctocolitis, Cow’s milk protein-induced enteropathy and Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES).