A New survey reveals that majority of doctors' fail in recognizing cow's milk allergy in babies, which causes serious health problems. Four in five GPs are not able to correctly diagnose the disease, wrongly recommending soy-based milk instead - which can pose a risk to long-term health.
The survey of 500 doctors is being published today by medical taskforce Act Against Allergy and is sponsored by SHS International. The survey found out that most of the doctors confuse the symptoms with other conditions such as gastroenteritis and colic moreover they don't trust their own colleagues to make the correct diagnosis of cows' milk allergy - one of the most common allergic conditions in infants.
But this can lead to unnecessary sickness and suffering for babies - claim experts. More than 10,000 babies in UK had been diagnosed for cow's milk allergy and it is feared that around 50,000 babies would have been missed in such diagnoses.
Although cows' milk is not introduced as a main drink before the age of one year, cows' milk protein is present in the main brands of infant formula resulting in causing this allergy. Most milk protein allergy in children disappears by the age of three to five, whereas some allergies like allergy to nuts tend to last for life.
The Department of Health has warned against routine prescription of soy-based infant formulas because of the high content of phytoestrogens - compounds that mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen. This could pose a risk in the long - term reproductive health of infants and also by causing allergies to both kinds of milk in infants.
Jane Bell, 34, mother, who lives in London with police officer husband Michael, says it took months to get the right diagnosis and treatment for her baby Lilly. She said that Lilly was reacting to formula milk within 24 hours from birth but the GPs failed in recognizing before she collapsed at the age of nine months. Mrs. Bell had then taken Lilly to Royal Free Hospital, where the doctors recognised straight away that she was suffering from an allergy and treated her with an amino acid-based formula that didn't contain any cows' milk or soy protein that she started to recover.
'Nine out of 10 doctors want more help to spot affected babies' - said Dr Martin Brueton, Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and UK spokesperson for Act Against Allergy. He added that the Act Against Allergy would issue guidelines next year to help doctors diagnose and correctly treat babies suffering from the problem.
Any parent who suspects milk allergy in their child may consult a paediatric allergy specialist instead of GPs - He added 'Although cows' milk allergy often improves or resolves over time, it causes small babies and their families a great deal of distress. 'Hence the need for early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.' The need now is to provide better information about the allergy so as to make it easier to diagnose milk protein allergy in infants - said Dr. Brueton.