What Is Strawberry Allergy?
Strawberry allergy is an allergic reaction that occurs when the immune system identifies the proteins in strawberries as harmful substances and produces an allergic response. The primary allergen in strawberries is called Fra a1, but other proteins may also contribute to allergic reactions. These allergens can trigger an immune response that leads to the release of histamine and other chemicals in the body, causing allergic reactions.
Strawberry allergy may also be caused by latex-fruit syndrome. Individuals who are allergic to natural rubber latex display signs of hypersensitivity to particular plant foods, specifically certain types of fresh fruit like strawberries. Latex-fruit syndrome is a form of allergen cross-reactivity that’s triggered when IgE antibodies recognize similar proteins across related or phylogenetically similar foods and plant matter. These are proteins like Bet v1, Hev b 6.02, and Hev b 7.
In addition to latex, those who are allergic to strawberries may also experience cross-reactive symptoms with these plant foods:
- Bell pepper
Strawberry Allergy Symptoms
There is a wide range of symptoms associated with strawberry allergy. These generally include:
- Skin rash
- Hives and eczema
- Itching and tingling mouth
- Throat tightness
- Itchy skin
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing
- Coughing and congestion
- Stomach distress
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
Skin reactions around the mouth are the most common strawberry allergy symptoms.
Strawberry Allergy Diagnosis
There are several ways to diagnose strawberry allergy. The most common include:
Skin Prick Test
A skin prick test is one of the most common ways to test for strawberry allergy. During this test, a small amount of allergen is placed on the skin, and then the skin is lightly pricked with a needle. If you are allergic to strawberries, the skin will develop red, itchy bumps at the site of the prick within 15-20 minutes.
A blood test is one of the safest methods to test for strawberry allergy. This test, which can be done by taking a very small blood sample, measures the level of antibodies in your blood that are specific to strawberries. If you have a high level of these antibodies, it is likely that you are allergic to strawberries. Allergists recommend this test if there is a high possibility of a severe allergic reaction.
An elimination diet is a method used to identify and eliminate specific foods or ingredients that may be causing adverse reactions or allergies in an individual. It involves removing certain foods from the diet for a period of time and then systematically reintroducing them to observe any changes or symptoms. The only problem with this testing technique is that it doesn’t rule out the possibility of a strawberry intolerance.
Strawberry Allergy Treatment
If you have a strawberry allergy, the best treatment is to avoid strawberries and any products that contain them. However, in case of accidental exposure or an allergic reaction, antihistamines can help soothe mild symptoms such as itching and rashes. You may also require inhaled corticosteroids for symptoms related to asthma.
For individuals with a severe strawberry allergy, carrying an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen or Auvi-Q) is crucial. Epinephrine can be self-administered during an emergency to treat severe allergic symptoms. You must visit a physician to get a prescription for epinephrine.
If you are in the NYC area, we can help develop a personalized treatment plan for strawberry allergy. Just book an appointment online or call (212) 686-6321 to get started.
Strawberry Allergy Frequently Asked Questions
Is Strawberry Allergy Common?
There is limited data available about strawberry allergies and how common they are. However, one study found that 3 to 4 percent of children aged 2 and under were allergic to strawberries, and the percentage dropped below 1 percent later in childhood and adulthood.
What Causes Strawberry Allergy?
The primary allergen in strawberries is called Fra a1, but other proteins may also contribute to allergic reactions. Individuals allergic to latex may also be allergic to strawberries. This is known as latex-fruit syndrome.
Does Strawberry Cross-React With Other Fruits?
Yes, strawberries can cross-react with certain other fruits due to shared allergenic proteins. Some fruits that are commonly associated with cross-reactivity with strawberries include Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, kiwi, peaches, apples, cherries, plums, and pineapple.
How Is Strawberry Allergy Diagnosed?
Allergists use allergy testing and sometimes a food challenge to diagnose mango allergies. Allergy testing may include a skin prick test.
How Is Strawberry Allergy Treated?
There isn’t currently treatment for strawberry allergy. The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid strawberries. However, in cases of severe allergic reactions, epinephrine can treat anaphylaxis. Antihistamines may treat less severe symptoms. Contact an NYC allergist to learn how to manage your strawberry allergy.
Can A Strawberry Allergy Be Outgrown?
Allergies to certain foods, including strawberries, can sometimes be outgrown, especially in children. However, it varies from person to person, and some individuals may continue to have the allergy throughout their lives.