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Food Allergy in Children


Between 2-4% of children in the United Kingdom develop cow’s milk allergy. Some of the children with a cow’s milk allergy may also have a soya (soy) allergy. It occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to proteins found in both milk and soya. Reactions to both milk and soya, are more common in children with delayed food allergy where symptoms occur between 2-48 hours or longer after eating the food containing milk or soya. In some children the symptoms are immediate and occur within minutes to 2 hours.

Immediate symptoms may include a combination of the following:

  • itchy skin rashes (redness or hives)
  • swelling of the face, eyes or lips
  • runny nose, itchy eyes
  • eczema
  • coughing
  • vomiting
  • swallowing or breathing difficulties (rare)

Delayed symptoms may include a combination of the following:

  • diarrhoea – often with a sore bottom (nappy rash)
  • constipation – often associated with excessive straining
  • gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
  • profuse vomiting
  • abdominal pain, bloating or distension
  • mucous and / or blood in the stools
  • nausea
  • painful wind, excess gas
  • eczema
  • food refusal / faltering growth