A groundbreaking new study has just been given the green light which will see New Zealand children tested to see just how many are affected by food allergies, especially allergies to cow’s milk.

A new pilot study will be launched to investigate just how many Kiwi children could be suffering from cow’s milk protein allergy.

The research programme, to be called “The burden of food allergy” will be led by Auckland University Professor Rohan Ameratunga said he consulted with at least six new sufferers each week and international studies had shown that among infants with cow’s milk allergy, 92% had two or more symptoms.

“Cow’s milk protein allergy, or CMPA, is certainly pretty common in New Zealand and I have noticed the numbers are increasing. I hope our study will shed some more light on the prevalence of this condition among Kiwi infants,” he said.

The research study, funded by the Auckland District Health Board, will investigate the number of children suffering cow’s milk protein allergies along with common symptoms and severity.

Reactions can vary and may include swelling of the lips, face or eyes, hives, welts, tingling in the mouth, wheezing or eczema.

“Other gastrointestinal symptoms can include reflux, vomiting, diarrhoea, and poor weight gain. In extreme cases patients can experience anaphylaxis which severely affects the respiratory and cardiovascular systems,” Ameratunga said.

“At least 10% of the cow’s milk allergy patients I see would suffer from anaphylaxis,” he said.

Parents concerned about cow’s milk allergies should consult their GP or paediatrician. Additional information can be found on Allergy New Zealand’s website www.allergy.org.nz or http://www.actagainstallergy.co.nz/

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