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Can Dairy Allergy Be Affected by Touching?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 15 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
Dairy Reaction Allergy Intolerance


My child has recently started primary school, and a boy in his class has a dairy allergy. we have been advised not to put any dairy or egg produts in their lunch box. As you can imagine this makes things difficult for other children in the class. My question is can a dairy allergy be affected by touching a dairy product or does the child concerned have to consume it? I know nuts is both touch and consume if the allergy is servere, but I didn't think dairy and egg was the same, I thought it was only if eaten.

(Mrs Pauline McKnight, 4 September 2008)


Children’s allergies are on the rise and the reactions to certain products can be very severe and even fatal in the worst case scenario.The reactions witnessed from a dairy allergy or intolerance range from gastric disturbances and mild skin rashes to the more serious anaphylactic reaction.

If a person does have an allergy to dairy produce (though it is altogether more common to have intolerance as opposed to a true allergy) it is possible to be aggravated by touch, however this is quite rare.

Children do pose a higher risk of suffering a reaction from touch as they are more likely to put their fingers in their mouths at some point during the day, including after they have touched some form of dairy produce. In this instance it is possible to suffer a reaction from indirect contact with dairy but it is unlikely that the simple touch alone will cause a severe reaction. If your child has proven to suffer from touch alone, it is vital that you inform the school and anyone else who carers for your child or is in regular contact with them. This is because so many products contain traces of dairy produce including some that most people wouldn’t consider to contain eggs or milk for example.

Most schools now have to have up-to-date policies regarding allergies and food intolerances and must attend regular training sessions on how to manage this issue.I would suspect that being asked not to take any dairy products to school is simply a matter of precaution.Children are notorious for sharing the contents of their lunch boxes which means that those with allergies are more likely to be exposed to the allergen even when their own parents and carers are very strict at monitoring what they are given. The staff at the school will be able to monitor the child with the allergy to a certain degree but it is unreasonable to expect them to be watched the whole time they are there as this would leave other children at risk. The staff must be vigilant at all times for all the children and cannot devote their whole working day to one child.

It is actually quite a difficult scenario for the school and the staff because they will not want to draw undue attention to the child with the allergy, nor will they want to receive negative feedback from other parents so it can pose quite a dilemma.

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Please correct the response to this question to state that EGG IS NOT DAIRY. Eggs come from a chicken, not a cow.An allergy to egg is completely different from an allergy to dairy. If you do not know this, please do not post answers on a kids allergy web site. Also, please do not downplay the fact that the child may have a touch allergy to dairy. Your statement that 'it is unlikely that the simple touch alone will cause a severe reaction.' is ignorant and misleading.What if the child in question DOES have a touch allergy to dairy??My child does. He has had reactions on his body from a "simple touch'.I would hate it if the parents in his class read your answer, it is simply misleading and incorrect.
Mr Adams - 15-May-12 @ 5:46 PM
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