Strawberry Allergy: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Management (2023)

Strawberry allergy: Definitive Guide

Strawberry allergy is an adverse immune reaction to proteins found in strawberries, causing symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Though strawberry allergies are relatively rare, affecting only a small percentage of the population, they can be distressing and dangerous for those who experience them. It is crucial to understand the symptoms, causes, and diagnostic methods in order to effectively manage and treat this allergy.

Prevalence of strawberry allergy

Though exact numbers vary, it is estimated that around 0.5% to 2% of the population experiences a strawberry allergy (1). This prevalence may be higher in regions where strawberries are more commonly consumed. According to Dr. Susan Waserman, a professor of medicine in the division of clinical immunology and allergy at McMaster University, the potential severity of allergic reactions necessitates that individuals be aware of the possibility of developing a strawberry allergy (2). (1) National Library of Medicine (2) American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Importance of understanding symptoms, causes, and diagnosis

Early recognition of symptoms, identifying causes, and obtaining a proper diagnosis are crucial in managing strawberry allergy. Dr. Jane Lucas, a consultant in paediatric allergy at Southampton Children's Hospital, emphasises the need for accurate diagnosis to ensure appropriate treatment and to prevent future reactions (3). (3) British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology

The need for proper management and treatment

Proper management of strawberry allergy involves avoidance of strawberries, prompt treatment of symptoms, and the administration of emergency medication when necessary. Dr. Adrian Morris, an allergy specialist at the Surrey Allergy Clinic, highlights the importance of educating patients on how to manage their allergy, including recognising symptoms, administering emergency medication, and seeking professional help (4). (4) Surrey Allergy Clinic

Symptoms of Strawberry Allergy

Mild to moderate symptoms

1. Hives 2. Itchy skin 3. Rash 4. Swelling 5. Redness Mild to moderate symptoms of strawberry allergy can include hives, itchy skin, rash, swelling, and redness. Dr. Alexandra Santos, an expert in paediatric allergy and immunology at King's College London, explains that these symptoms typically occur within minutes to hours after consumption of strawberries and can last for several hours (5). (5) King's College London

Respiratory symptoms

1. Sneezing 2. Runny nose 3. Wheezing 4. Difficulty breathing

Respiratory symptoms associated with strawberry allergy include sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. According to Dr. Paul Turner, a consultant in paediatric allergy at Imperial College London, these symptoms may result from the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators in the airways (6). (6)

Severe symptoms

1. Anaphylaxis 2. Rapid onset of symptoms 3. Difficulty breathing 4. Drop in blood pressure 5. Loss of consciousness Severe symptoms of strawberry allergy can be life-threatening and include anaphylaxis, rapid onset of symptoms, difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. Dr. Pamela Ewan, a consultant allergist at Addenbrooke's Hospital, stresses the importance of immediate medical intervention if an individual experiences these symptoms, as they can rapidly progress to a life-threatening situation (7). (7) University of Cambridge Allergy Research

Causes of Strawberry Allergy

Immune system response

1. Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies 2. Histamine release Strawberry allergy is caused by an immune system response to proteins in strawberries. The body produces Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, which trigger the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators, causing allergic symptoms. Dr. Ronald van Ree, a professor of molecular allergology at the University of Amsterdam, explains the mechanisms behind this immune response (8). (8) Amsterdam University Medical Centre


1. Pollen-food allergy syndrome 2. Latex-fruit syndrome Cross-reactivity between proteins in strawberries and other substances can cause allergic reactions. Pollen-food allergy syndrome is a common cause of cross-reactivity in which individuals allergic to certain pollens, such as birch pollen, also react to proteins in strawberries. Latex-fruit syndrome is another example, where people allergic to latex may also react to strawberries. Dr. Carina Venter, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado, further elaborates on cross-reactivity and its role in allergy development (9). (9) University of Colorado School of Medicine

Genetic factors

Genetic factors may predispose individuals to developing a strawberry allergy. Dr. Clare Mills, a professor of molecular allergology at the University of Manchester, suggests that a family history of allergies or other atopic conditions, such as asthma, eczema, or hay fever, increases the risk of developing a strawberry allergy (10). (10) University of Manchester

Testing and Diagnosis of Strawberry Allergy

Medical history and physical examination

Diagnosis of strawberry allergy begins with a thorough medical history and physical examination by a healthcare professional, who will assess the likelihood of an allergy based on reported symptoms and their timing.

Skin prick test

A skin prick test is often used to confirm a suspected strawberry allergy. During this test, a small amount of strawberry extract is applied to the skin, which is then pricked with a needle. A positive reaction, such as a raised, red bump, indicates an allergy.

Blood test

1. Specific IgE antibodies 2. ImmunoCAP or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) Blood tests, such as ImmunoCAP or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), can be used to measure levels of specific IgE antibodies to strawberry proteins.

Management and Treatment of Strawberry Allergy

Avoidance of strawberries and related foods

The primary treatment for strawberry allergy is the strict avoidance of strawberries and related foods. This includes checking food labels, informing food establishments of the allergy, and being cautious about cross-contamination during food preparation.

Antihistamines for mild to moderate reactions

Antihistamines can be used to treat mild to moderate allergic reactions, such as itching, hives, and swelling. Dr. Helen Brough, a consultant in paediatric allergy at Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital, recommends over-the-counter antihistamines for symptom relief, but advises consulting a healthcare professional for proper dosage and advice (11). (11) Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital

Epinephrine for severe reactions

Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is the first-line treatment for severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Individuals with a known strawberry allergy should carry an epinephrine auto-injector, such as an EpiPen, and know how to use it in case of an emergency.

Allergy shots (immunotherapy)

In some cases, allergy shots, or immunotherapy, may be recommended for individuals with severe strawberry allergies. This treatment involves the administration of gradually increasing doses of strawberry allergen extract to help desensitise the immune system. However, this treatment option is still in the experimental phase for strawberry allergy and is not widely available.

Awareness and preparation

Being aware of the allergy and prepared to manage it is crucial. This includes educating oneself about the allergy, understanding how to avoid allergens, knowing how to recognise and treat symptoms, and having an emergency plan in place.

Living with a Strawberry Allergy

Dietary modifications

1. Identifying and avoiding hidden sources of strawberries 2. Alternative fruits and ingredients Living with a strawberry allergy requires dietary modifications, such as identifying and avoiding hidden sources of strawberries in processed foods, beverages, and personal care products. Additionally, individuals with a strawberry allergy can explore alternative fruits and ingredients to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.

Coping with social situations

1. Communicating with friends, family, and food establishments 2. Carrying allergy-friendly snacks Managing a strawberry allergy in social situations involves clear communication with friends, family, and food establishments about the allergy and its potential consequences. Carrying allergy-friendly snacks can also help ensure that safe food options are available during social events.

Staying informed and updated on allergy research and treatments

Regularly staying informed about the latest research and treatment options can help individuals with a strawberry allergy make informed decisions about their care and management.


The importance of accurate diagnosis and proper management

An accurate diagnosis and proper management of strawberry allergy are vital for maintaining health and preventing severe reactions. This includes understanding the symptoms, causes, and diagnostic methods, as well as seeking appropriate treatment.

The potential for improvement with appropriate treatment strategies

With appropriate treatment strategies, such as avoidance, medication, and potentially immunotherapy, individuals with a strawberry allergy can experience an improvement in their quality of life and a reduction in the frequency and severity of allergic reactions.

Living a healthy and balanced life with a strawberry allergy

By making dietary modifications, communicating effectively, and staying informed about

research and treatments, individuals with a strawberry allergy can live a healthy and balanced life. Managing a strawberry allergy may seem challenging, but with the right knowledge, support, and strategies, it is possible to maintain a fulfilling lifestyle while managing the allergy effectively.


What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction to strawberries? ›

The most common symptom of a strawberry allergy is itchy skin, which is often concentrated around the mouth, lips, and face. Congestion is another mild symptom that involves a runny nose, watering eyes, and wheezing.

What to do if you have allergic reaction to strawberries? ›

People can often treat mild reactions at home using over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines. Antihistamines will stop the immune system from overreacting to the strawberries and will help prevent the symptoms or reduce their severity.

Why are strawberries a common allergen? ›

The Fra a proteins are a major allergen group identified in strawberry This is not a true strawberry allergy, but a cross reactivity of the proteins to the birch tree pollen. Treatment is heating the fruit or just avoiding it.

How to manage the symptoms of allergies? ›

Try an over-the-counter remedy

They include: Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a stuffy or runny nose, and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy), fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy) and loratadine (Claritin, Alavert).

What type of allergy is strawberry? ›

Strawberries and other fruits in the Rosaceae family are linked to birch allergic rhinitis (hay fever). The symptoms of oral allergy syndrome usually resolve when the raw fruit (or vegetable causing oral allergy syndrome) is swallowed or taken out of your mouth, but this isn't always the case.

What are the side effects of eating strawberries? ›

There are no known side effects strawberries can cause. If you are allergic to certain berries, check with your doctor, if this fruit is safe for you.

How do you relieve food allergy reactions? ›

If you suspect you have a food allergy, avoid exposure to the food altogether until your doctor's appointment. If you do eat the food and have a mild reaction, over-the-counter antihistamines may help relieve symptoms. If you have a more severe reaction and any signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, seek emergency help.

How do you overcome fruit allergy? ›

The standard treatment is to avoid raw fruit - once it has been processed or cooked, the allergen is destroyed and it is safe to eat, so you should be fine to enjoy stewed or canned fruits.

How do you get rid of food allergy reactions? ›

How are food allergies treated?
  1. Epinephrine (for example, EpiPen® or Auvi-Q), a lifesaving emergency medication that immediately begins reversing symptoms of anaphylaxis.
  2. Antihistamines, medications that reduce itching or congestion.
  3. Corticosteroids to reduce swelling if you have a severe allergic reaction.
Mar 24, 2021

Do strawberries cause a histamine reaction? ›

Strawberries are high in histamine, so should be avoided by people following a low histamine diet. Strawberries are very high in salicylates. Salicylates have the potential to cause worsening of asthma, swelling, itching and hives as well as food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.

Are strawberries a high allergy food? ›

Berries, including strawberries, aren't considered a highly allergenic food. But you may notice that they can cause a rash around your baby's mouth. Acidic foods like berries, citrus fruits, and veggies, and tomatoes can cause irritation around the mouth, but this reaction shouldn't be considered an allergy.

What fruit causes the most allergies? ›

Fruits. A great variety of different fruits have been reported as causing allergic reactions, however, the most prevalent and best described are reactions to apple, peach and kiwi fruit.

What are the three ways to manage allergy? ›

  • Allergen avoidance. Your provider will help you take steps to identify and avoid your allergy triggers. ...
  • Medications. Depending on your allergy, medications can help reduce your immune system reaction and ease symptoms. ...
  • Immunotherapy. ...
  • Emergency epinephrine.
Aug 5, 2022

What are 3 signs of an allergy? ›

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:
  • a runny nose or sneezing.
  • pain or tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead.
  • coughing, wheezing or breathlessness.
  • itchy skin or a raised rash (hives)
  • diarrhoea.
  • feeling or being sick.
  • swollen eyes, lips, mouth or throat.

What are the 7 allergy symptoms? ›

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction
  • Itchy, watery eyes.
  • Itchy nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • Runny nose.
  • Rashes.
  • Hives (a rash with raised red patches)
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Vomiting.

What is strawberry tongue a symptom of? ›

Vitamin deficiency. Low levels of vitamin B-12 and folate can cause a strawberry tongue, but this deficiency will likely be diagnosed if you experience its more common symptoms.

Is strawberry a latex allergy? ›

Latex allergy and food

Some people with latex allergy have allergic reactions when eating particular foods, including avocado, banana, chestnut, kiwifruit, passionfruit, plum, strawberry and tomato. This is because some of the proteins in latex that cause latex allergy are also present in these fruits.

Can strawberries trigger eczema? ›

Although not common, food can cause eczema to flare, according to Del Campo. He adds that acidic foods can be a particular issue, including strawberries, tomatoes, and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit.

Who should not take strawberry? ›

If you have a bleeding disorder, use strawberry with caution. Surgery: Using strawberry in larger amounts might slow blood clotting. There is some concern that it might increase the chance of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using strawberry at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Can strawberries cause sore throat? ›

If you are allergic to a fruit in this family, you may also be allergic to strawberries. Some people have allergic cross-reactivity with symptoms including itchy mouth, itchy throat, swelling inside the mouth and throat. This allergic reaction is related to pollen allergy.

Can strawberries affect your stomach? ›

Your stomach may get upset.

"If you're not used to eating fibrous foods and you eat a large quantity of strawberries, you may experience heartburn, diarrhea, reflux, or bloating, just as some people experience after eating too much of any fruit," The Nutrition Twins explain.

Does Benadryl help with food allergies? ›

Minor Allergic Reaction

In these cases, OTC or prescribed antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may help reduce symptoms. These drugs can be taken after exposure to an allergy-causing food to help relieve skin redness, itching, or hives. However, antihistamines cannot treat a severe allergic reaction.

What are 3 serious symptoms of a food allergy? ›

Hives, itching or eczema. Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body. Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.

What is the fastest way to get rid of an allergic reaction? ›

Treating an Allergic Reaction Rash
  1. Avoiding scratching or touching the affected area.
  2. Using a cold compress to soothe the rash.
  3. Taking cool or tepid showers or baths (hot water can aggravate and dry out the skin)
Aug 21, 2020

Does Benadryl help with fruit allergies? ›


Antihistamines are a common medication for hay fever, but they can also have positive benefits for fruit allergies caused by OAS. Histamine is released during an allergic reaction – it's this substance that causes allergy symptoms.

How long can a food allergy stay in your system? ›

Allergic reactions to foods may occur within a few minutes after eating the food, but rarely symptoms may also develop after hours, making the relationship with ingestion of food less clear. Symptoms generally disappear within hours but can last for days.

How long do fruit allergy symptoms last? ›

In more serious reactions, there may be swelling of the mouth, back of the throat and windpipe as well as hives. Those of us with the condition usually develop symptoms within minutes of eating the food, and they typically dissipate in less than 15 minutes. Just enough time to make a person go a bit crazy.

What is the best antihistamine for food allergies? ›

Use an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin), to treat mild symptoms. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Mild symptoms include sneezing or an itchy or runny nose; an itchy mouth; a few hives or mild itching; and mild nausea or stomach discomfort.

What will destroy most food allergens? ›

The immune system recognizes the pollen and similar proteins in the food and directs an allergic response to it. The allergen is destroyed by heating the food, which can then be consumed with no problem.

Why am I allergic to fruit all of a sudden? ›

Allergic reactions to fruit are commonly associated with oral allergy syndrome (OAS). It's also known as pollen-food allergy. OAS occurs from cross-reactivity. The immune system recognizes the similarity between pollen (a common allergen) and the proteins in raw fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts.

Why do I get a rash around my mouth after eating strawberries? ›

This is called perioral contact dermatitis. It is seen after eating acidic fruits and vegetables like orange, tomato and strawberries and is one of the most common food reactions. If a food does this, it can be avoided.

What are the worst histamine foods? ›

The following six foods are high in histamine:
  1. Fermented Food. The level of histamine in fermented foods can fluctuate based on preparation techniques and the length of aging. ...
  2. Alcohol. ...
  3. Packaged Meat. ...
  4. Aged Cheese. ...
  5. Legumes. ...
  6. Citrus Fruit.

Can strawberries cause acid reflux? ›

Foods to Eat on an Acid Reflux Diet

Noncitrus fruits: Apples, bananas, blueberries, and strawberries are safe bets.

Can you be tested for fruit allergies? ›

Diagnosing A Fruit Allergy

A skin prick test can identify over 40 allergens. Your doctor will test your skin to see if it reacts to pollen and latex, the common causes of a fruit allergy. If results are negative, you may need to do an oral food challenge during your office visit.

What is the safest fruit for allergies? ›

Citrus fruits

Eating foods high in vitamin C has been shown to decrease allergic rhinitis , the irritation of the upper respiratory tract caused by pollen from blooming plants. So during allergy season, feel free to load up on high-vitamin C citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.

What are the 4 types of allergic reactions? ›

Type I: reaction mediated by IgE antibodies. Type II: cytotoxic reaction mediated by IgG or IgM antibodies. Type III: reaction mediated by immune complexes. Type IV: delayed reaction mediated by cellular response.

What are the 5 best ways to prevent an allergic reaction? ›

Allergy Prevention
  • Avoid your allergens. This is very important but not always easy. ...
  • Take your medicines as prescribed. ...
  • If you are at risk for anaphylaxis, keep your epinephrine auto-injectors with you at all times. ...
  • Keep a diary. ...
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet (or necklace). ...
  • Know what to do during an allergic reaction.

What is the first treatment of allergy? ›

Emergency first aid for severe allergic reactions

A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is life-threatening and requires urgent action . Lay the person flat – do not allow them to stand or walk. Give adrenaline injector (such as EpiPen® or Anapen®) into the outer mid-thigh.

What are the 4 signs of a severe allergic reaction? ›

Skin rashes, itching or hives. Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat. Shortness of breath, trouble breathing or wheezing (whistling sound during breathing) Dizziness and/or fainting.

What is the rarest allergy? ›

The Rarest (And Strangest) Allergies

Water: Medically known as aquagenic urticaria, patients with a water allergy develop painful hives and rashes when their skin is exposed to water. An allergic reaction will develop regardless of the water temperature, and even when the water is purified.

What are the worst symptoms of allergies? ›

Severe Allergy Symptoms (Anaphylaxis)
  • Itching of eyes or face.
  • Varying degrees of swelling of the mouth, throat, and tongue that can make breathing and swallowing difficult.
  • Hives.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Cramps.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Mental confusion or dizziness.
Jan 29, 2023

What are the top 5 rarest allergies? ›

World's most rare and uncommon allergies
  1. Water. Aquagenic urticaria is a rare condition that causes itchy and painful hives to break out whenever the sufferer comes into contact with water. ...
  2. Exercise. ...
  3. Money. ...
  4. Human touch. ...
  5. Sunlight.

What are 5 major allergens? ›

Major Food Allergens

Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA). This law identified eight foods as major food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.

What are the 10 most common allergy causes? ›

From a broader perspective, the 10 most common allergies are:
  • Pollen.
  • Dust mites.
  • Mould.
  • Animal dander.
  • Insect stings.
  • Latex.
  • Food allergens.
  • Medication.
Jun 25, 2021

Why do I feel weird after eating strawberries? ›

It happens because some fruit and vegetables, such as strawberries and cucumbers, have proteins that look like pollen to the body, so it reacts by producing antibodies that can cause your mouth and throat to tingle or itch.

What does a mild allergic reaction to fruit feel like? ›

Mild to moderate symptoms may include: a red raised rash (known as hives or urticaria) anywhere on the body. a tingling or itchy feeling in the mouth. swelling of lips, face or eyes.

What does a mild fruit allergy feel like? ›

Common signs and symptoms include: itching or tingling in the mouth. swelling of tongue, lips, and throat. sneezing and nasal congestion.

Do strawberries cause inflammation in the body? ›

As with cherries, scientists suspect it is anthocyanin, along with other phytochemicals, that gives strawberries their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits.

How do you get rid of fruit allergies? ›

Allergy desensitization is a longer-term option for fruit allergies and pollen itself. The process involves building tolerance through gradual interactions with allergens. For OAS, patients will usually receive allergy shots that desensitize the immune system to the particular type of pollen causing issues.

Why does my throat feel scratchy after eating strawberries? ›

Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome. If you suffer from hay fever and you've experienced an itchy mouth or scratchy throat after eating certain raw fruits or vegetables, and some tree nuts, you may have symptoms of Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome, also called Oral Allergy Syndrome.

How do you flush food allergens out of your system? ›

Keep yourself hydrated. "While your body is purging the allergen food from it is system, the best thing you can do is drink plenty of fluids," Zeitlin says. Water is always a good idea, but you can also sip on low calorie sports drinks to replenish the electrolytes you're likely losing, Zeitlin says.

What are 2 signs of a mild allergic reaction? ›

Mild to moderate allergic reaction
  • Swelling of lips, face & eyes.
  • Hives or welts.
  • Tingling mouth.
  • Abdominal pain, vomiting (these are signs of anaphylaxis for insect allergy)

What happens if you keep eating food you're intolerant to? ›

Food intolerances affect your digestive system. People who suffer from an intolerance, or sensitivity, can't break down certain foods. They develop gas, diarrhea and other problems.

How fast does your throat closing due to an allergic reaction? ›

It mostly occurs within 20 minutes to 2 hours after exposure to the allergen. Signs and symptoms may be mild at first, but can rapidly worsen. A small number of people suddenly develop signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) without any signs of a mild to moderate allergic reaction.

What are 5 examples of mild symptoms of food allergies? ›

Symptoms of a food allergy
  • tingling or itching in the mouth.
  • a raised, itchy red rash (urticarial) – in some cases, the skin can turn red and itchy, but without a raised rash.
  • swelling of the face, mouth (angioedema), throat or other areas of the body.
  • difficulty swallowing.
  • wheezing or shortness of breath.
Mar 10, 2023

How do you test for fruit allergies? ›

Diagnosing A Fruit Allergy

A skin prick test can identify over 40 allergens. Your doctor will test your skin to see if it reacts to pollen and latex, the common causes of a fruit allergy. If results are negative, you may need to do an oral food challenge during your office visit.

What is the most common fruit allergy? ›

A great variety of different fruits have been reported as causing allergic reactions, however, the most prevalent and best described are reactions to apple, peach and kiwi fruit.


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