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Strawberry Allergy

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid -

Strawberry allergy is an uncommon form of food intolerance. Popular for its heavenly scent and succulent taste, strawberries are literally everywhere from jams and ice creams to shampoos, creams and even air fresheners. For this reason strawberry allergy in toddlers is caught at an early stage, but it is common that the allergy develops later in life.

Compared to some other food allergies, strawberry allergy is not as serious in the sense that it rarely causes anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life threatening immunological reaction of the body against substances that it does not recognize. That being said, it is essential to immediately seek treatment for an allergic reaction to strawberries since strawberry allergy symptoms if left untreated can become increasingly serious.

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Yummy looking strawberries, but they may cause an allergic reaction.

Strawberry allergies – what really happens?

People who have an allergy to strawberries often ask about the biological processes that are occurring in their bodies. The protein that causes the allergy has been identified as “Fra a1”or Fragaria allergen 1, and this allergen, according to a study by Christian Seutter von Loetzen et al, is found in ripe red strawberries and absent in white ones. Now, what happens is that in people who have an intolerance to strawberries, the protein “Fra a1” is not recognized by the immune system. This causes the formation of Ig E antibodies that latch on to this allergen and cause the release of histamine and other inflammation causing substances. The whole cascade of released substances that follows leads to the symptoms observed in people who have allergic reactions to strawberries.

Symptoms of Strawberry Allergy

The signs of strawberry allergy usually appear within two hours of ingestion and primarily manifest on the mouth or throat. A strawberry allergy reaction often begins with tingling around the mouth area that may be followed by swelling of the lips, tongue or throat. Swelling of the lips and tongue can impede speech if serious and out of control swelling of throat can close up respiratory passages and make it difficult to breathe. For this reason it is essential to seek treatment for strawberry allergies, especially if you can feel your throat closing up.

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A strawberry allergy reaction may cause swollen lips.

Strawberry allergy rash is also one of the symptoms. The histamine released due to the allergic reaction can cause widespread swelling of the skin and may also lead to red blotches and strawberry allergy hives. It can lead to the formation of itchy, red patches of skin and can even cause watery eyes and a stuffy nose. Many people who are unaware that they are allergic to strawberry first find out about their allergy when they get a rash from strawberries. A strawberry allergy test can also be done to confirm this diagnosis and then proper prevention must be followed to avoid any symptoms.

A strawberry allergy can also give rise to some gastrointestinal symptoms. As the body is not reacting well to the ingested strawberries, nausea, vomiting and abdominal bloating may accompany an upset stomach. In severe cases, the allergy can also cause abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. Even though anaphylaxis is very rarely seen in patients with strawberry allergy it is best to be prepared for anything. A rapid pulse, sudden drop in blood pressure or loss of consciousness are warning signs to rush for medical attention. In such cases of emergency you can use an Epi pen to bring quick relief to the patient.

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Picture of an arm with mild strawberry allergy. Hives can break out as an allergic reaction to strawberries.

Strawberry Allergy Treatment

To battle some of the symptoms of a strawberry allergy you can consult your doctor for treatment. Usually anti-histamine tablets are prescribed for throat discomfort, sneezing or rhinitis. As for the skin symptoms, hydrocortisone creams or topical anti-histamine is commonly prescribed to patients with strawberry allergies. In the event of an emergency when the patient is rushed to the hospital with difficulty in breathing the doctor will administer an epinephrine injection which will bring quick relief to the patient. If you have experienced an anaphylactic shock before or swelling of the throat you can ask your doctor to prescribe you an Epi-pen in case of an emergency. The disadvantage with these medications is that most of them can cause side effects like irritability, dry mouth and drowsiness. However, they are life savers and should be carried with you in case you get a severe reaction.

For those with mild strawberry allergy you might consider using natural remedies that are free of nasty side effects and easy enough to put together any time at home.

Natural Remedies for Strawberry Allergy

1. Avoid Strawberries at all cost
Why worry about treating your allergy when you can just avoid it altogether? It may be pretty difficult at the start but once you have informed your friends and family of your allergy, they can help you stay in a strawberry free environment. Not only must you avoid strawberries, jams, cakes, but juices must also be avoided. Some lotions, lip glosses and air fresheners also contain strawberry so if you suddenly start sneezing make sure to inquire whether a strawberry spray has been used. It is also wise to wear a medical alert necklace in case of an emergency.

2. Use a cold compress
The swelling brought on by an allergy on the lips, face or general skin can be alleviated with a cold compress. Some people have experienced relief with this method.

3. Apply an Aloe Vera salve
Hives or itchy skin can be treated by an aloe vera salve. Just rub some gently on the affected area and sit back as the miraculous soothing effect of aloe vera clears up your skin situation. Do not put the salve on your lips as some aloe vera gels should not be ingested.

4. Sip on some green tea
You can always rely on easy to make herbal concoctions like green tea or chamomile tea that have an anti-histamine effect which may aid in relieve many of the symptoms of strawberry allergy including rashes, itching, hives and sore throat.

If you have suggestions to any kind of treatment that have helped you to relief a strawberry allergy, please share it in the comments section.

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