You might wonder ‘Can people be allergic to Strawberries?” A strawberry allergy can affect both adults and children, causing mild to severe reactions and a range of symptoms. It’s important to know how to recognize the signs of an allergic reaction so you can respond quickly and appropriately. Let’s take a look at what causes a strawberry allergy, the most common symptoms, and what steps you should take if you think you or your child may be allergic.
What Causes a Strawberry Allergy?
A strawberry allergy is caused when the body recognizes proteins in strawberries as a threat and begins producing antibodies which trigger an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions are triggered by compounds known as allergens, which are found in many types of food, including strawberries. In some cases, people may also have an intolerance to strawberries or other fruits, which causes different symptoms than an allergy but still needs to be taken seriously.
How Common is a Strawberry Allergy?
A strawberry allergy is not as common as a peanut or egg allergy. In fact, it is estimated that less than 0.1% of the population has a true strawberry allergy. Though uncommon, an allergic reaction to strawberries can range from mild to life-threatening for those who experience them, and symptoms may be immediate or delayed.
Common signs of an allergic reaction to strawberries include hives, facial swelling, itchy skin, coughing, wheezing and abdominal pain. To be sure if you have a true strawberry allergy or just an intolerance (which is much more common), make an appointment with your doctor to get tested properly. Treatment for strawberry allergies includes avoidance of the fruit and quick access to emergency medication should a severe reaction occur.
Strawberry Allergy Symptoms
The most common symptom of a strawberry allergy is hives or itchy skin rashes. The other common symptoms can include
- Swelling around the face or neck area
- Difficulty breathing
- Cramps in the stomach or intestines
- Itching or tingling around mouth
In some cases, a strawberry allergy can be life-threatening and cause anaphylaxis, which is a serious allergic reaction that requires medical attention. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
- Throat swelling
If any of these symptoms occur after eating strawberries (or coming into contact with them), it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
Treating a Strawberry Allergy
The best way to treat a strawberry allergy is by avoiding exposure to the allergen altogether. If you suspect that you have a strawberry allergy, it’s important to speak with your doctor who can help diagnose the condition and provide guidance on how best to avoid exposure going forward. Your doctor may also recommend medications such as antihistamines or corticosteroids if necessary. It’s also helpful for anyone with a food allergy to carry an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) just in case they experience sudden onset symptoms due to accidental exposure.
What Foods should a Person Avoid if they have a Strawberry Allergy?
If you have a strawberry allergy, you must be extra careful when it comes to eating and shopping for your food. Fortunately, being on the lookout for this widely available fruit is not too difficult. Whenever purchasing or consuming foods of any kind it is important to read nutrition labels to determine whether or not they contain strawberry as an ingredient.
Additionally, be aware that some seemingly innocuous items may also contain strawberries in some form or another – such as juice products made with strawberries, jams and jellies, frozen treats like ice cream, cakes and pies.
When dining out make sure to ask your server about specific ingredients and if possible request that all meals be cooked without any additional strawberry topping, garnishes or sauces. With proper knowledge, precaution and awareness you can enjoy safe meals with confidence!
Strawberries are part of the Rosaceae family and as such some people may find they have an allergic reaction to other fruits in this group such as;
You may also find that people with a strawberry allergy can not tolerate the following
- Pet dander
- Some nuts
If you suspect that you may be allergic to one of the above, it is important to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. In some cases, an allergy test can be performed in order to determine your allergies with certainty.
Strawberry allergies are relatively common among adults and children alike, but they don’t have to be debilitating if you know what signs to look out for and how best to manage them. The key is avoiding exposure whenever possible while having emergency medication close at hand just in case an unexpected reaction occurs due to accidental ingestion or contact with the allergen.
If you think you might have a strawberry allergy (or any other type of food allergy), make sure that you discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider so they can help develop an action plan that ensures your safety going forward.