New study suggests cow’s milk allergy might not be as common as we think

cow’s milk allergy

New study suggests cow’s milk allergy might not be as common as we think

It’s not surprising that parents are a bit on edge when it comes to their children’s health. For parents of newborns, it’s an even more anxiety-inducing time. And food allergies are certainly something they should take seriously.

One we often see in newborns is cow’s milk allergy. Depending on where you look, it affects between 1 and 7% of babies, with most outgrowing it by the age of 5. But one new study has found that guidelines may be leading to an overdiagnosis of cow’s milk allergy.

The study

Research coming out of the University of Bristol has found that symptoms associated with cow’s milk allergy are extremely common in infants. This isn’t to say that three-quarters of newborns have the allergy, rather that these are symptoms you tend to see in most babies anyway.

Guidelines to diagnose delayed cow’s milk allergies say to look for posseting (bringing up milk), vomiting, colic, loose stools, and eczema. But the researchers found that one in four parents reported two or more of these symptoms any month. Even in babies being breastfed, thus not having any cow’s milk.

The study used data from 1,303 newborns between three and twelve months.

What does this mean?

This means some children may be misdiagnosed with cow’s milk allergy when the symptoms they’re experiencing are actually normal. Dr Rosie Vincent, who led the research, said: “Guidelines designed to help the non-specialist to diagnose cow’s milk allergy in infants may unintentionally medicalise normal infant symptoms and promote over-diagnosis of cow’s milk allergy.”

Adding to this, senior co-researcher Dr Michael Perkin said: “Parents of young infants are often seen in clinics, worried about a medical cause for their infant’s symptoms such as colic, bringing up milk or loose stools. However, our research confirms that these symptoms are extremely common. In an otherwise healthy infant, an underlying cause is unlikely.”

This just goes to show how important it is to talk to an allergy specialist. They will have a much keener insight into the nature of conditions such as cow’s milk allergy. So if you ever have any concerns with your newborn, talk to an expert.

The team of specialists at London Allergy and Immunology Centre are always ready to help you with any concerns you may have. Register as a new patient today or call us on 02031 433 449.

Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved