Allergist and Immunologist (Pediatric) Questions Milk allergy

Is a dairy allergy different from lactose intolerance?

My son was diagnosed with a dairy allergy a few months ago, and when he does have milk, he usually gets rashes, nausea, stomach pains and issues breathing. I'm trying to explain to my husband that this is different than lactose intolerance, but I'm having trouble putting it into words. How is a dairy allergy different from lactose intolerance?

3 Answers

Lactose intolerance only means the enzyme to digest milk sugar is low and this causes bloating and diarrhea. Allergies on the other hand affect multiple organ systems like respiratory and skin etc
Yes. Lactose intolerance is not an allergy. Dairy allergy is usually antibodies to casein, which is milk protein. They are different. This type of allergy is more correctly classified as food sensitivity. It is a type of allergy (delayed hypersensitivity reaction), but not a true allergy. A true allergy occurs rapidly and is an immediate hypersensitivity reaction. Delayed hypersensitivity reactions take days to occur after exposure (like poison ivy/oak). This is quite complex, and you may want to discuss it with your doctor.
Dairy allergy is related to the protein in the dairy. Patients who are allergic to dairy would have symptoms when exposed to any kind of dairy (cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and milk including lactaid milk). Lactose intolerance is related to the sugar in the dairy (Lactose). Patients with lactose intolerance would be OK with lactose free dairy.