Snacking on ripe strawberries is a refreshing way to get tons of vitamins. But some children have strawberry allergies, which makes the experience much less pleasant.
Strawberry allergies affect between 3% - 4% of children under the age of 2 years. And this reduces to 0.5% - 1% in adulthood. While there’s a chance your child outgrows their allergy, you still have to help them manage it while they’re young. This means your child should avoid foods like certain:
- Baked goods
- Jams and jellies
- Ice creams
- Danishes and pastries
- And more
Here’s what you’ll learn inside this guide:
- Signs and symptoms of a strawberry allergy in babies
- When to call 911 for a strawberry allergy
- Top foods to avoid if your baby has a strawberry allergy
- Preventing and treating baby strawberry allergies
- How to diagnose strawberry allergies in babies
- Strawberry allergy vs. strawberry intolerance
- FAQ: Everything you need to know about baby strawberry allergies
Signs and Symptoms of a Strawberry Allergy in Babies
Allergies are immune system responses and they’re triggered by “intruders.” When your baby has a strawberry allergy, their body thinks strawberries are bad. So the immune system sends antibodies to fight the berries, and histamine releases. This is when and why physical symptoms start to appear.
Most strawberry allergy symptoms show up a few minutes to a few hours after ingestion. And in some extreme cases, touching a certain food triggers an allergic reaction. Allergy symptoms range from mild to severe.
Mild strawberry allergy
- Itchy skin
Moderate strawberry allergy
- Skin rashes or hives
- Swelling of the mouth, lips, or face
Severe strawberry allergy
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Difficulty swallowing
Not all strawberry allergies are the same, though. Some children have stronger reactions than others. And some children don’t react at all to cooked strawberries. (Talk to a doctor before feeding your child cooked strawberries.)
As well, your baby could have oral allergy syndrome. It has mild symptoms like an itchy mouth or a scratchy throat. And symptoms disappear as soon as the trigger food is spat out or swallowed. Oral allergy syndrome is closely linked with pollen allergies.
When to Call 911 for a Strawberry Allergy
In some cases, food allergies can cause anaphylaxis — and it’s life-threatening. So it’s important you and your children’s caretakers know when to call 911.
Here are some tips to help manage an emergency situation:
- Look for signs of anaphylaxis like shortness of breath or loss of consciousness, and a fast pulse. They may also experience low blood pressure, severe cramping, and facial swelling.
Remember: If you notice the signs of anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately.
- Manage symptoms while you wait for emergency services. Administer an auto-injector (EpiPen®) or over-the-counter antihistamines to soothe your child’s symptoms. But remain vigilant. Sometimes a second wave of allergy symptoms appears shortly after.
- Don’t hesitate and always seek medical attention. Even if your child’s symptoms go away after a few minutes, call 911 and talk to a doctor.
Top Foods to Avoid if your Baby has a Strawberry Allergy
One of the best ways to manage your baby’s strawberry allergy is through prevention. Help your child avoid accidentally eating strawberries by checking for foods like:
- Baked goods or desserts made with strawberries
- Fresh, dried, or frozen strawberries
- Ice creams or frozen snacks made with strawberries
- Jams made with or from strawberries
- Jellies and candies flavored with strawberries
In some cases, children with strawberry allergies also react to:
- Birth pollen
- Nuts (like hazelnuts)
Lastly, your child may also be allergic to other Rosaceae foods. Rosaceae is a family of fruits and it includes:
Always talk with a doctor to find out what’s best for your child. And remember to thoroughly check food labels for strawberry ingredients.
Preventing and Treating Baby Strawberry Allergies
Children have a higher rate of having a food allergy compared to adults. And children can outgrow some food allergies with age. In the meantime, there are ways to manage your child’s allergy and symptoms like:
|Allergy action plans||
|Food label monitoring||
How to Diagnose Strawberry Allergies in Babies
If you suspect your child has a strawberry allergy, talk with a doctor or allergist. They can ask about symptoms and family history. And they can perform allergy tests to confirm whether your baby has a food allergy.
A doctor pricks your child’s skin and exposes them to the suspected allergen. If the doctor notices a reaction, your child may have an allergy.
A sample of your child’s blood is sent to a lab for testing. If there are certain antibodies found in the blood, your child may have an allergy.
Remove suspected food triggers from your child’s diet. Slowly reintroduce them one by one, weeks apart. If your child reacts as you reintroduce a food, they’re likely allergic to it.
Oral Food challenge
Your child eats a small bit of strawberry under the direct supervision of a doctor. If the doctor notices a reaction, your child may have an allergy.
Strawberry Allergy vs. Strawberry Intolerance
Food allergies and intolerances are tough to tell apart. Allergies are immune system responses that release histamines and specific antibodies. Intolerances usually affect the digestive tract. And they don’t release the same antibodies that allergies do. Here’s a breakdown:
|Strawberry Allergy||Strawberry Intolerance|
|Symptoms appear in minutes or hours||Symptoms appear within a few days|
If you aren’t sure whether your child has an allergy or intolerance, talk to a doctor. They can run tests to properly diagnose your child.
Explore Other Most Common Foods Causing Allergies in Babies
FAQ: Everything you need to Know about Baby Strawberry Allergies
How common are strawberry allergies?
Food allergies are the most common type of allergy among children. They affect 6% - 8% of children under the age of 3. But strawberry allergies are less common. They affect 3% - 4% of children under the age of 2. And this percentage drops as children age.
If you notice a rash around your child’s mouth, it could be a reaction to acidic foods like:
- Strawberries (and other types of berries)
- Citrus fruits
Always talk with your child’s doctor to be sure, and to be safe.
If my child has a strawberry allergy, are they also allergic to other berries?
If your child has a strawberry allergy, they may also react to other Rosaceae foods. Rosaceae is a family of fruits and it includes:
Talk with a doctor about getting your child tested for food allergies.
How long does it take to have an allergic reaction to strawberries?
Most strawberry allergy symptoms show up within a few minutes to a few hours. In severe cases, some people may react to simply touching strawberries.
Should I avoid strawberries while breastfeeding?
If you and/or your baby have an allergy to strawberries, talk with your doctor about whether it's safe. Some highly allergenic foods can be passed through breast milk. And in some cases, this means your baby may have a reaction to the strawberries you eat.
You may notice skin rashes, diarrhea, or excessive fussiness. This indicates your child could be reacting to something in your milk. Talk with your child’s pediatrician about how to safely nurse a child with a food allergy.
Can allergic children tolerate baked strawberries?
This depends on your child and the severity of their allergy. Some children are allergic to strawberries no matter how they’re prepared (raw or cooked). Other children can tolerate cooked or baked strawberries.
Talk with your doctor about an oral food challenge. This helps test your child for allergies in a safe and supervised environment.
Will my child outgrow strawberry allergy?
Strawberry allergies affect between 3% - 4% of children under the age of 2. And this figure drops to 0.5% - 1% in adulthood. This means there’s a chance your child will outgrow their strawberry allergies as they age.