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Strawberry Allergy in Babies: FAQ, Signs, and Causes

written by Taylor Cossairt, medically checked by a child nutritionist

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

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
  • Dizziness
  • Congestion

Moderate strawberry allergy

  • Skin rashes or hives
  • Swelling of the mouth, lips, or face
  • Diarrhea

Severe strawberry allergy

  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Anaphylaxis

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.

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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:

  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Birth pollen
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Latex
  • Melon
  • Nuts (like hazelnuts)

Lastly, your child may also be allergic to other Rosaceae foods. Rosaceae is a family of fruits and it includes:

  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries

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
  • Lists symptoms, triggers, and care instructions
  • Have a doctor review the action plan
  • Distribute the action plan to anyone who is responsible for your child’s safety
Medications
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines or allergy medication
  • Prescription auto-injectors
  • Talk with your child’s doctor to find out which medications are best for allergies
Food label monitoring
  • Check food labels for strawberries or related ingredients
  • Avoid foods that are at high risk for cross-contamination
  • Most commercial food labels in the EU and UK should list common allergens

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.

Skin test

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.

Blood test

Elimination diet

Oral Food challenge

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
  • Immune system response
  • Releases IgEs (antibody)
  • Can be life-threatening
  • Can be an immune system response, food poisoning, or lack of enzymes
  • Doesn’t release IgEs
Symptoms appear in minutes or hours Symptoms appear within a few days
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, or lips
  • Hives and rashes
  • Cramps and abdominal pain
  • Congestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating or gas
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Skin rashes
  • Upset stomach

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
  • Tomatoes
  • Vegetables

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?

How long does it take to have an allergic reaction to strawberries?

Should I avoid strawberries while breastfeeding?

Can allergic children tolerate baked strawberries?

Will my child outgrow strawberry allergy?