Allergist and Immunologist Questions Milk allergy


My allergy to milk has all of a sudden gotten worse, I'm in my 30's now, as a kid I used to just get hives and take Benedryl and be fine but all of a sudden I have started to get chest pains like my heart is skipping a beat, my lips turn kinda blue and I have shortness of breathe, I also get hives on my arms that grow to my chest and it makes me feel really dizzy and tired. I have also had vomiting and cramps, should I be heading to the er for this? I'm not sure if it's serious or not? Also can an allergy suddenly become severe? And I have also had these symptoms without the hives, which made me think it wasn't allergy related but now I am getting hives with it. Please advise.

Female | 30 years old
Complaint duration: One month
Medications: None
Conditions: Allergy to Sulla and milk

12 Answers

You may have developed Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. You can see the photos of similar patients by going to <> and clicking on Video at the top. There is a webinar on Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
I'm sorry you are going through this! You definitely should be evaluated by an allergist for your symptoms. If you have been eating dairy regularly prior to this reaction, it certainly would be unusual to "re-develop" a dairy allergy. There are other conditions that can cause 'random' hives or allergic reactions---and these conditions can be further evaluated by a board-certified allergist. If you are actively experiencing difficulty breathing or lightheadedness, then I recommend going to the ER.
Milk allergy can certainly be a problem with hives, itching, dizziness, but you would need testing with either skin prick test, or blood testing to confirm the milk allergy. We now also have "component" testing which is a very sensitive test. The symptoms with your heart racing and shortness of breath should be evaluated in the emergency room or urgent care as this may represent a condition unrelated to allergy.

I evaluate many causes of hives, but often they are "idiopathic," which means there is no specific trigger for the hives. I work with your PCP to make sure that your heart palpitations and shortness of breath aren't due to asthma.
Best to you!

Lynn A. Wiens, MD
Make an appointment to see an allergist immediately. Of course do not drink any dairy products.
Good evening M'am,

Per your report and pics, it does sound like you do have cow's milk mediated IgE hypersensitivity. It sounds like your symptoms are increasing in severity. I highly recommend that you avoid cow's milk and cow's milk products (butter, ice cream, cheese, yogurt etc.) and keep an EPIPEN on hand at all times. In the event of accidental ingestion of cow's milk, then I recommend using the EPIPEN ASAP and seeking medical attention. Each time that you ingest the cow's milk, the humoral arm of your immune system produces more antibodies to cow's milk, hence the increased severity with subsequent exposures.
Yes, you manifest systemic reaction to milk and this needs to be taken very seriously. First of all I’d recommend you to have an EpiPen with you all the time and be ready to administer it. In case you ever develop irregular heart beats, chest tightness, you better go to ER, since it may be a sign of allergic asthmatic attack. You also want to be examined by an allergist to evaluate your condition. That may include:

1. Broad allergy testing to rule out other allergies,
2. Blood work to check on your immune system, since hives may be seen in other medical conditions
3. Get a pulmonary function test to rule out allergic asthma.
4. Till all this is completed, you must avoid all milk products.


Evelyn Tolston, MD, FAAAAI
An allergy can definitely progress over time, becoming more severe. If it is milk that is causing your symptoms, you need to stop ingesting dairy, see an allergist and get an Epi pen or similar device!
The immune system does have the potential to change over time in terms of allergies. What you’re describing may be anaphylaxis. Any time a sudden severe reaction or “event” occurs, especially involving breathing (lump in throat, throat swelling, shortness of breath, wheezing) or feeling dizzy/faint, seek emergency services immediately. Call 911 or have someone drive you to the Emergency Department. If you have been diagnosed by a board certified allergy center, you should have an epinephrine injector on hand at all times. I would suggest that you seek immediate advice from your current or a local board certified allergy center.
Yes it is serious. You are having anaphylaxis to milk. With or without hives. You should strictly avoid all milk containing products and you should have an epinephrine auto injector available. If this starts happening without milk exposure, you may have developed additional allergies or you may have developed a condition called MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome). You need to be evaluated by an allergist who cal look into all these possibilities.
Severe food allergy can cause severe allergic reactions in some patients. Therefore, you need to be tested and evaluated by an Allergist-Immunologist for appropriate and optimal treatment and management.

I'm sorry to hear that your reactions to milk seem to be increasing in severity. This is not rare; food allergy reactions can change with time and frequency of exposure. There are people that outgrow their milk allergies, but others will have their milk allergy for their entire lives. In general, we recommend diagnostic testing to confirm the particular food allergy. After confirmation, our patients are advised to avoid the offending food allergen as well as to carry an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, as well as injectable epinephrine for accidental ingestions. There are food desensitization protocols being developed for patients that do not appear to be outgrowing their food allergies. I would suggest a consultation with an allergist for testing and a comprehensive treatment plan.
Avoidance of milk or items containing milk products is the only way to manage a milk allergy. Within a short period of time after consuming milk or a milk protein, you may experience the following symptoms:
-Stomach upset
-Bloody stools, especially in infants
-Anaphylaxis, a rare, potentially life-threatening reaction that impairs breathing and can send the body into shock.
Make an appointment with us or for more detail you can e-mail