strawberries - Strawberry Allergy Guide

Strawberry is a freckled little fruit beloved by so many people. Chewing into this beautiful fruit can be a delightful experience full of sweet flavours not unless you are allergic to strawberries. Even though this may surprise many, it is possible to be allergic to strawberries. It is pretty easy to notice that you have a strawberry allergy. Upon ingesting the fruit, you might have a strange feeling in your mouth, have rashes all over your body, or even get anaphylaxis in severe situations, which are rare.

There aren’t many studies to determine the population of people suffering from a strawberry allergy. But according to this one small-scale study conducted in Bosnia, Europe, only around 3-4% of children aged two and below suffer from this allergy. This percentage drops to 0.5-1% in late childhood because most children tend to grow out of allergies {1}.

When you are allergic to strawberries, you’ll also need to avoid similar fruits from the same family as strawberries because there’s a high chance you’ll be allergic to them too. After ingesting strawberries, you may notice allergy symptoms within a few minutes to hours after eating the fruit. Strawberry allergy isn’t quite heard of because of how uncommon it is. Only a few people experience this type of allergy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be severe.


Identifying a strawberry allergy

People have different reactions to strawberries; the most severe one is pseudoanaphylaxis. This condition occurs when there is an immediate release of histamines upon encountering “histamine liberators.” Strawberries act as histamine liberators in susceptible people and can cause a severe reaction enough to kill a person with a severe strawberry allergy.

A more common reaction in those with strawberry allergy is oral allergy syndrome (OAS). OAS usually develops in those individuals who already have hay fever allergies, and it’s brought about by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables.

Having a strawberry allergy means that your immune system reacts badly to a specific protein in the strawberry fruit. According to research, the main culprit in strawberry allergies is a protein in strawberries known as Fragaria allergen 1 (Fra a1). This protein is what causes the reddening of strawberries when they ripen. Because this protein is what’s causing your immune system to fight back, you could avoid the red type of strawberries and settle for other varieties like white strawberries. Also, upon cooking strawberries, this protein dies and thus doesn’t cause an allergic reaction.

scratching neck 300x300 - Strawberry Allergy Guide

A man scratching his neck.

Strawberry allergy symptoms

Just like other food allergies, symptoms of strawberry allergy show up within minutes to two hours after consuming the fruit. Common strawberry allergy symptoms include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • A feeling of tightness in the throat
  • Congestion
  • Itching or tingling mouth
  • Skin rashes, such as hives or eczema
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pains
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness

Severe symptoms of strawberry allergy include:

  • Tongue swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A rapid pulse rate
  • A swollen tongue
  • A swollen throat that blocks the airway
  • A substantial drop in blood pressure
  • Fainting

These symptoms often mean you’re suffering from anaphylaxis, and the best way to treat it is by using epinephrine. If you ever suffer from anaphylaxis, you’ll need to carry an epinephrine injector (EpiPen) with you at all times just in case you need it.


How to treat a strawberry allergy

allergy 38 test 300x300 - Strawberry Allergy Guide

Our 38 Items Allergy Test

Just like all the other food allergies, you can’t exactly treat a strawberry allergy. When experiencing severe symptoms like anaphylaxis, it is advisable to use your EpiPen to mitigate them. But if you experience mild but uncomfortable symptoms that can’t let you get on with your day, you can take over-the-counter antihistamines. These will help reduce your symptoms, and you can finally stop seeing the side effects. If it’s your first time experiencing strawberry allergy, you need to visit your doctor so you can get directions for future reference if you ever come in contact with strawberries, even by bad luck.

You can live with a strawberry allergy, and you’ll need to be extra careful when purchasing groceries. You must ensure you don’t consume strawberries, especially the red varieties. There are also vegetables and fruits from the same family as strawberries, and you need to take an Allergy Test to determine whether you’re allergic to those too or not. Most people also tend to have other food allergies because of similar proteins present in various foods.

You must avoid any foods with strawberries, even strawberry flavourings. You need to be extra vigilant if you’re going to prevent any allergy symptoms. For example, if you eat a cake with strawberries as decoration pieces, you could get an allergic reaction even without eating the strawberries. You could also get a reaction from eating fruits similar to strawberries.


Foods to avoid when you have a strawberry allergy

The most obvious fruit to avoid is strawberry. But in reality, you will also need to look out for other fruits in the Rosaceae family. These include:

  • Peaches
  • Raspberry
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Apples

Apart from these fruits similar to strawberries, there are other common allergens that you’re most likely to react to when you have a strawberry allergy. These include:

  • Latex
  • Birch pollen
  • Some nuts, such as hazelnuts
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Melon
  • Bananas

Having a strawberry allergy doesn’t automatically mean that you will be allergic to all the above. That’s why it’s necessary to conduct an Allergy Test so you can be sure what you should avoid and what is safe.


Strawberry alternatives

Just because you need to cut off strawberries and other fruits in the Rosacea family doesn’t mean you won’t consume them anymore. There are fruits you can safely eat and not experience strawberry allergy symptoms. You can safely eat bananas, blueberries, and melons since they aren’t in the same family as strawberries. If there are already fruits and vegetables that you can’t eat because of allergies, you need to talk to your doctor about it. Eliminating all fruits in the Rosacea family and others will mean that you have few options and require the nutrients. Your doctor will help you navigate the best way forward.

There are currently many studies looking into hypoallergenic breeding strawberries, which means that sometime in the near future, you will find white strawberries in grocery stores as an option. Meanwhile, you must ensure you avoid foods containing strawberries because they are mainly used to add flavour to many dishes.


Risk factors of strawberry allergy

Even though anyone can have a strawberry allergy, some people are more likely to have it than others. For example, if you have a family history of allergies like eczema or asthma, you’re at a higher risk of getting a strawberry allergy. Children have a higher chance of developing allergies because it’s the first time they try new things. However, children can outgrow allergies, especially when they approach their teenage years.

It is also possible to have a strawberry allergy even if you don’t have a family history of allergies. Also, it is better to introduce allergenic foods to kids before seven and a half months to reduce the risk of food allergies developing. So, you must introduce allergenic foods between months five and seven. If you have a child who develops strawberry symptoms, you need to eliminate the fruit from their diet and talk to their paediatrician.


Testing for strawberry allergy

If you suspect you have a strawberry allergy, the safest way to deal with it is by having an Allergy Test. An allergy test will test your blood against strawberry allergens and other typical food and environment allergens. You can order your test kit online and deliver it to your doorstep within three days. After carefully taking a blood sample, you can ship it back to the labs and have your results within seven days.

Living with a strawberry allergy can be a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need to do is avoid all strawberry foods and the fruits themselves, and you can keep away the allergy symptoms triggers. When shopping, keep a close eye on the ingredient list to ensure that you don’t miss any strawberry flavourings or otherwise in the ingredient list. If you have a moderate to mild reaction to strawberries, you can work with your doctor to slowly reintroduce the fruit into your diet and build up a tolerance. By building up strawberry tolerance, you’ll be able to consume the fruit in specific amounts and only experience very mild reactions that can be unnoticeable.



Bajraktarevic, A., Trninic, S., Penava, S., Mahinic, A., Begovic, B., Selmovic, A., … & Sporisevic, L. (2011). Prevalence of strawberry allergy in Bosnian children and management. Clinical and Translational Allergy, 1(1), 1-1.