If you're diagnosed with a strawberry allergy, you may also be allergic to other foods in the strawberry family.
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A strawberry family allergy may cause an itchy mouth, scratchy throat and swelling of the mouth and throat.
What Is a Strawberry Allergy?
A strawberry allergy is considered an oral allergy. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, oral allergy syndrome — also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome — is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables and some tree nuts.
If you are diagnosed with this condition, certain fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts or spices may cause your mouth to tingle or itch. In serious cases, these allergens may lead to swelling of the throat or life-threatening anaphylaxis.
The proteins in strawberries and other fruits may cause these adverse effects because they're similar to the allergy-causing proteins found in certain pollens, per the Mayo Clinic. This is an example of cross-reactivity.
Oral allergy syndrome may cause an itchy mouth, scratchy throat, swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue and throat, itchy ears or hives on the mouth. Symptoms usually don't progress beyond the mouth. A diagnosis of oral allergy syndrome is made after assessing your clinical history or by conducting skin prick tests and oral food challenges with raw fruits or vegetables.
Strawberry Family Allergy
Strawberries are members of the Rosaceae family, and you may be unable to eat other raw fruits in this family if you're allergic to strawberries. According to a February 2017 article in Molecular Biology and Evolution, other fruits in the Rosaceae family include:
Oral allergy syndrome has been linked to pollen allergies. Strawberries and other fruits in the Rosaceae family are also linked to birch allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
The symptoms of oral allergy syndrome usually subside when the raw fruit or vegetable causing them is swallowed or taken out of the mouth. Beware, though — if your symptoms are severe or life-threatening, you should seek medical help immediately.
People with oral allergy syndrome can usually eat the fruits or vegetables to which they are allergic, but only in cooked form because their proteins are altered during the heating process, per the Mayo Clinic. The body doesn't react in the same way to cooked food — for example, you may be allergic to apples but can safely eat applesauce.
Avoiding Strawberry Allergy Rash
The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify and avoid any foods that may trigger it, per the Mayo Clinic. If you think you have a strawberry family allergy, speak with your doctor. He or she may prescribe you emergency epinephrine.
Other ways to avoid a strawberry allergy rash include:
- Try to avoid raw apples, apricots, cherries, raspberries, peaches, plums and other foods in the Rosaceae family.
- Pay attention to what you're eating and drinking, particularly when you are not at home, and make a habit out of checking food labels.
- Be careful at restaurants and ask questions about the food served. Mention your strawberry family allergy to the server.
You might also want to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace that lets others know about your condition. This may help in case you experience a severe allergic reaction and you're unable to communicate.
- American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: "Oral Allergy Syndrome"
- Mayo Clinic: "Food Allergy"
- Molecular Biology and Evolution: "Evolution of Rosaceae Fruit Types Based on Nuclear Phylogeny in the Context of Geological Times and Genome Duplication"
- Mayo Clinic: "Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance: What's the Difference?"