This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Understanding Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy in primary care

Written by: | Published:

Many children and young people are allergic to cow’s milk, but diagnosis can prove difficult

In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the number of adults and children suffering food allergies. An allergy can be defined as an adverse health effect arising from a specific immune response on exposure to a given food.1 Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) is specific to the abnormal response to proteins found in cow’s milk or milk substitute products containing the proteins.2

Identification of CMPA can be difficult and is often over-estimated due to possible misinterpretations of presumed reactions to milk. Typical symptoms of CMPA can be both vague as well as being common in children who do not have allergy; including commonly presented symptoms such as skin rashes, reflux, colic and diarrhoea.1

A pan-European study, using gold standard diagnosis for food allergies, confirmed challenge-proven CMPA in approximately 1% of children up to two years of age.3

CMPA is often also confused with lactose intolerance, making diagnosis even more difficult.4,5 Lactose is a component of milk and dairy products; an intolerance may occur when there is lack of the enzyme lactase to break down the lactose into glucose and galactose. Although, it is highly unlikely in infants under the age of 3, malabsorption of lactose can lead to gastrointestinal side effects such as bloating, diarrhoea and flatulence.6

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.