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Lactose Intolerance or Milk Allergy?

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Contrary to popular belief, lactose intolerance and milk allergy are two very different conditions. Discover the difference and get a better understanding of treatment and care.

Lactose intolerance is a digestive problem that involves a lactase deficiency, which is a lack of the enzymes necessary to digest the natural sugar in milk.

A milk allergy is the result of an overreaction of the immune system to the protein in milk. Milk allergies are quite rare, especially in adults. They usually occur in 2 to 4% of infants and are outgrown, by most children, by the age of three. Possible symptoms of a milk allergy include hives, skin rash, eczema, diarrhea or constipation, nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing and vomiting.

Should you suspect that you or your child has a milk allergy, do not self diagnose. It is very important that you consult a doctor or an allergist. An incorrect evaluation of the problem can lead to the unnecessary elimination of foods, or even of a group of foods, which can cause nutritional deficiencies. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, you should consult a registered dietitian for personalized counselling on healthy eating.

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