A strawberry allergy is a rare condition that affects less than one percent of the population. Less than five percent of adults and ten percent of children have any food allergies, as reported by the Mayo Clinic. Nine out of ten of these allergies are associated with more common reactions to peanuts, shellfish, gluten, and dairy products. One of the rare conditions in the remaining fraction is a strawberry allergy which, while less prevalent, can be every bit as dangerous.
Symptoms of a strawberry allergy will typically develop within an hour or two of eating them. According to the Mayo Clinic, in mild reactions, symptoms of a strawberry allergy will be limited to various irritations. Skin rashes may develop in the form of hives, redness, swelling, and itchiness. Nasal congestion and throat irritation can also develop, making breathing uncomfortable or difficult. Other symptoms of a strawberry allergy include irritated or swollen mouth, lips, and tongue.
Severe symptoms of strawberry allergies can manifest themselves in the form of a condition called anaphylaxis in which blood pressure plummets, heart rate increases, breathing can become inhibited, and the body goes into shock. Anaphylactic shock can become fatal if immediate treatment is not administered. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that anaphylaxis from food allergies leads to as many as 30,000 trips to the emergency room every year.
To prevent severe reactions from strawberry allergies, the Food and Drug Administration recommends keeping an EpiPen or other epinephrine injector handy to prevent anaphylaxis from setting in. An EpiPen releases epinephrine into the body, counteracting the allergic reaction and reducing the severity of symptoms. For children who have a history of severe reactions to food allergies, WebMD suggests that it may be wise to have two epinephrine injections available.
What may seem like strawberry allergies may actually be symptoms of a latex allergy. According to the Australian Better Health Channel, certain components of latex are also found in strawberries, promoting a reaction when strawberries are consumed. Other foods that may cause a reaction related to latex allergies include bananas, avocados, tomatoes, and a few other fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Though rare and unlikely to cause a major reaction, a strawberry allergy is not something that should be taken lightly. In extreme cases, food allergies can cause the body to experience anaphylaxis and go into shock. Identifying and avoiding food allergens is essential to preventing any reactions. Any questions about strawberry allergy, other food allergies, or prevention and treatment methods should be directed to a person’s doctor.
Boyles, Salynn. Kids With Food Allergies May Need 2 EpiPens. WebMD.
Food Allergies: What You Need to Know. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Food allergy. Mayo Clinic.
Latex allergy. Better Health Channel. State of Victoria, Australia.