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Can Eating Too Many Strawberries Cause Hives?

By Laura Agadoni

Eating too many strawberries is associated with hives, but just because you eat a lot of them doesn’t mean you’ll get a reaction. Hives are red, swollen patches, called wheals, which form on the skin. Urticaria, the medical name for hives, is an allergic reaction. Strawberries could be a trigger, but only if you are allergic to them.

Hives

You can get hives on any part of your body, and you can have one hive or many hives at one time. Hives are generally itchy. They can go away in a few minutes, or they can last for hours or days. Sometimes, you can have a spot that goes away, and then another hive shows up in a new spot. Some people have hives that come and go for years. According to Drugs.com, hives are usually not serious. However, they could be a precursor to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening medical emergency from an allergic reaction. Signs of anaphylaxis are a rapid and weak pulse, swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, a rash or hives, and nausea and vomiting.

Strawberries

Strawberries are a common trigger for hives. With some food triggers, such as nuts, shellfish, fish and eggs, eating just a tiny bit can result in hives. But with strawberries, you can only get a reaction if you eat a large amount of them, according to Merck. Typically, if you are going to get hives from eating too many strawberries, you will get them just after eating the strawberries and no longer than two hours after ingestion. If you get a hive reaction after eating too many strawberries, avoid eating large amounts of them in the future.

Allergies

Food allergies are not as common as many people believe they are. Only about 4 percent to 8 percent of children and 2 percent of adults have true food allergies, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Another 25 percent of people have food intolerance, not an allergy. Hives are a symptom of an allergy, and strawberries are the most common fruit culprit. You are more likely to have an allergy if you have a family history of allergies. If both of your parents had a food allergy, you are 75 percent likely to have one, too. If only one parent had a food allergy, you chances drop to 30 percent to 40 percent. If neither parent had a food allergy, but someone else in your family did, you have a 10 percent to 15 percent chance of having a food allergy.

Treatment

Hives may go away by themselves. To relieve unpleasant symptoms that may accompany hives, such as itching, a headache and swelling, take an antihistamine. A soothing cream may also relieve itchiness. You can put cool compresses on hives, or you can soak in a lukewarm – not hot – oatmeal bath. Avoid alcoholic beverages while you have hives. Wear loose clothing; tight clothes can trigger another attack. If you have a severe reaction such as difficulty breathing, seek emergency treatment. According to Merck, if you are prone to severe allergic reactions, carry a self-injecting epinephrine syringe and have antihistamines on hand.

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