Food allergies affect about 4% of adults and up to 8% of children, according to the Mayo Clinic. While any food can trigger an allergic reaction, strawberries--a popular fruit--are a common offender. Some food allergies are minor, but others can result in life-threatening reactions. That's why it's important to know the prevention, symptoms and treatment of food allergies.
A food allergy results when your body's immune system responds in an abnormal way after you eat a certain food. Specifically, your body's immune system mistakenly identifies the food as a foreign invader and produces a substance called histamine that causes allergic symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic . In general, it requires more than one exposure to a certain food for an allergic reaction to develop. Allergic symptoms usually appear the second or subsequent time a food is eaten, according to the National Institutes of Health. Many people often confuse a food intolerance with a food allergy. The Mayo Clinic states that while a food intolerance can cause some allergic symptoms, it does not involve an immune system response.
The symptoms of a strawberry allergy are the same as that of any food allergy reaction. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can appear within a few minutes to an hour after eating the food and can include: a rash or red ring around the mouth; hives and/or swelling; eczema; vomiting; diarrhoea; swelling or itching of the mouth, lips or tongue; and tightness in the throat and/or difficulty breathing.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common treatment for allergic symptoms is to take an antihistamine medication, such as Benadryl, as soon as symptoms appear. An antihistamine can slow your body's immune response, reduce allergic symptoms and prevent a more serious reaction. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about the correct dosage for you or your child.
The National Institutes of Health states that you should call 911 right away if you or your child experience tightness in the throat and/or difficulty breathing after eating strawberries or any other food. These symptoms are an indication of a serious and potentially life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. This condition requires immediate emergency medical treatment.
If you have a known allergy to strawberries or any other food, it's important that you avoid contact with the food--particularly in restaurants or social gatherings in which you may not be aware of ingredients in certain dishes or how food is prepared. Speak to your restaurant server about your food allergy so that you can be sure to avoid menu items that may contain strawberries or other foods to which you may be allergic. If you've experienced a severe reaction to strawberries, ask your doctor about prescribing an epinephrine pen that you can keep with you at all times. This small device allows you to administer medication that can stop the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.