Cherries are a favorite fruit, and flavor, for many people, and it is present in preserves, jams, jellies, ice cream, pies and even in soft drinks. But like any food allergy, an allergic reaction to cherries can develop at any time and without warning. Knowing the symptoms of an allergic reaction to cherries can be important to safeguard yourself or a loved one from harm. As with any food allergy, medical attention to the condition should be sought immediately if you or someone else experiences any adverse reaction to cherries.
Cherry allergies are usually caused by histamines in your body reacting to what is perceived as an intruder. This includes orally-based reactions such as an itchy mouth or gums, sore throat, hoarseness and redness of the face. In some cases, minor reactions can progress to severe or even life-threatening reactions if there is additional exposure to cherries.
Severe reactions can include a rash or welts, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Typically in these cases, your body has identified cherries as an invalid nutritional source and is attempting to purge the body of the "toxin."
Rashes are the most common reaction to cherry-based or cherry-derived topical ointments, shampoos or lotions.
In some cases, life-threatening reactions to cherries can occur. In rare cases, people have experienced severe allergic reactions by merely kissing someone who has recently eaten cherries.
Symptoms can include: Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or "wheezing." Dizziness or fainting. Swelling of the tongue or throat. Rapid heartbeat. Dramatic change in blood pressure.
In the event of a life-threatening reaction, call emergency medical personnel immediately.
There are no cures for allergic reactions to food. Therefore, most medical experts advise that you avoid the allergen, in this case cherries, even cooked or processed cherries. In some cases of life-threatening allergic reaction histories, physicians might prescribe a one-use injectable dose of epinephrine. This "epi pen" can be used in emergency conditions, such as accidental exposure, to arrest the worst symptoms and give the victim time to reach a hospital or call for medical aid. "Epi pens" are available by prescription only.
Some people who have, or develop, cherry allergies might also be allergic to birch pollen and peaches. In both cases, proteins in cherries are similar to birch and peach, causing the body to mistake cherries for the other, and vice-versa. If you have an allergy to cherries, you might also have allergies (or develop them) to apples, plums, walnuts, hazelnuts and apricots.