Humans are the only mammal on earth that continue to drink milk past infancy. We consume dairy products on a daily basis, often failing to notice that it is not always tolerated by our bodies, especially in small children.
Pediatric patients are often seen for ailments and symptoms that are written off by physicians as “normal.” Ear and throat infections, frequent colds, severe bloating, gas, rashes and colic are some of these symptoms. Bouncing a baby up and down or putting them on antibiotics is a common solution, but it may not be the best way to treat these young people.
Babies that suffer from chronic ear infections usually begin displaying symptoms by a year old. They are most often placed on antibiotics to fight the bug that is causing the infection, but these antibiotics also kill flora in the child’s stomach that is essential for digestion and health. A pediatric patient that suffers from chronic ear infections will experience symptoms repeatedly and usually over a couple of years, with doctors failing to cure the problem. Many times a solution is to place tubes in the child’s ear. It usually gets to this point before a frustrated parent begins to seek alternative solutions.
Allergens may be the root of the problem. To test for allergies, children are often given IgE allergy tests where he or she is poked to find immediate hyper-sensitivity allergies. But this test fails to detect food allergies which are slow mediated.
The most common food allergy is milk, which accounts for 98 percent of cases, and is often found to be the cause of chronic ear infections. The first sign of dairy allergy is colic, rashes and severe gas and bloating. If undiscovered, it will lead to frequent colds, chronic ear and throat infections and later in life, asthma. There sometimes is a pattern with people who develop asthma, strep throat, frequent headaches, gall bladder issues or diverticulitis later in life–they usually have dealt with chronic ear infections as a baby.
Ear infections usually begin to occur chronically around a year old, when the child is taken off of his or her mother’s milk and given dairy products. Detecting a dairy allergy involves a physician sitting down with the parents and talking about what the child has been eating. Most often there has been dairy involved. The child is then taken off of dairy products and given probiotics to restore healthy stomach flora. After being taken off of dairy, a child usually shows improvement in as little as two weeks.
Having a dairy allergy is different then being lactose intolerant. A dairy allergy begins at birth, perhaps being passed down from the mother through antibodies, while lactose intolerance occurs later in life. Lactose intolerance is actually a deficiency in the enzyme used to break down dairy products, and is not an actual food allergy. As a healthy substitute for dairy, parents may want to try rice or almond milk (make sure to test the child for almond allergy first). If the child never gets the chance to become accustomed to consuming dairy products, then he or she won’t crave them.
Finding the root of the problem, which may be as simple as eliminating dairy from the diet, will save a child from unnecessary surgery, illnesses and complications later in life.