Strawberry Allergy

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Strawberry allergies are fairly common.

Strawberry allergies are fairly common. Symptoms are similar to those of many food allergies with the most common symptom being oral allergy syndrome. Oral allergy syndrome includes symptoms like tingling, itching, and swelling in the mouth, throat, tongue, and lips. Hay fever-like symptoms, such as watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose, are also possible strawberry allergy reactions. Hives and contact dermatitis (skin irritation where strawberry allergen makes contact) are also common reactions. Severe symptoms include respiratory problems, asthma, and anaphylactic shock.

People with strawberry allergies need to avoid eating and coming into contact with strawberries. Avoidance is not always as straight-forward as it seems. Strawberry leaves are sometimes found in herbal teas and cosmetics; strawberry flavoring is used in skin care products and medicines; and shampoo, conditioner, air freshener, laundry detergent and other household products may contain strawberry components. Allergic individuals should read the labels of such products carefully.

Interestingly, as a recent Swedish study discovered, white strawberries do not cause allergies; only red strawberries cause allergic reactions. This interesting fact seems to be because the white strawberries do not contain the suspected protein allergy which is apparently related to the strawberry's color. Breeders are working on making the white strawberry as flavorful as red ones.

As is often the case, strawberry allergies are intertwined with another allergy: An allergy to strawberries often coincides with birch pollen allergies because their allergens are similar. It is common for those with birch pollen allergies to develop a secondary allergy to strawberries. However, the reverse is not true; those with strawberry allergies are not more likely to be allergic to birch pollen.

For more information, visit our Food Allergy FAQ and our Food Allergy/Anaphylaxsis Solution Guide.

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