What Is Strawberry Tongue And How To Avoid Catching It


What if you could tell something was seriously wrong just by looking in a mirror?

Many of us often struggle with hidden issues. Understandably, we spend a lot of time worrying about catching everything from COVID-19 to depression. And each of those conditions requires some kind of official test or professional medical diagnosis.

And then there’s strawberry tongue. If you look in the mirror one morning and your tongue is red and bumpy, then you can tell right away that you’re suffering from strawberry tongue. The only question that remains is how you’re going to treat it!

To help keep you safe, we put together this complete guide to strawberry tongue, including what causes it and how to treat it. Keep reading to get the answers you need!

What is strawberry tongue?

Strictly speaking, strawberry tongue is not a medical condition in and of itself. Instead, it is a symptom of another condition or disorder you may be suffering from.

That’s part of why it is so important to notice when your tongue is red and bumpy. If you go to your doctor right away, they may be able to diagnose what is really causing the issue. And with the doctor’s health, you can begin the road to wellness.

But what are the possible causes of strawberry tongue? Let’s take a closer look at what might be causing that bright red tongue.

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What causes strawberry tongue?

There are actually many different causes of strawberry tongue, and some of them are much more serious than others. And you won’t be able to treat this symptom until you understand what the major condition is.

For example, strawberry tongue can be caused by simple allergies. You may be allergic to certain foods and medications and not even know it. If allergies are the culprit, you may also be suffering from watery eyes, scratchy mouth, rashes, and difficulty breathing. Keep in mind that severe allergies can be deadly, so it’s important to consult with your doctor to determine what you are allergic to.

Strawberry tongue can also be caused by a vitamin deficiency. Basically, if you’re not getting enough B-12, it can cause your tongue to look bright red and bumpy. If a vitamin deficiency is the issue, then you may also be suffering from memory issues, balance issues, fatigue, and general weakness.

On occasion, strawberry tongue may be caused by scarlet fever, which you may get if you have strep throat that goes untreated for too long. If this is the cause, you may notice your tongue turn white for a few days before it turns red. You may also suffer from high fevers, a flushed face, headache, sore throat, red rashes, and red lines across your body.

Some who develop strawberry tongue are suffering from the very rare Kawasaki disease. While that disease is likelier to occur in children, it may occur in adults as well. The disease will also present symptoms such as high fever, peeling skin, rash, swollen hands or feet, chapped lips, and thick discharge from your eyes.

Finally, strawberry tongue may be caused by toxic shock syndrome. This is often caused by tampons, but it can also be caused by stuffing your nose with tissue or gauze to stop bleeding. If not treated quickly, toxic shock syndrome can be fatal. It also causes additional symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, fever, headache, diarrhea, and general pain.

Are there any complications?

Because strawberry tongue has so many causes, there are many possible complications. All of the potential complications are related to the severity of the cause.

For example, scarlet fever left untreated may turn into rheumatic fever, and that can inflame your brain, heart, skin, and joints. It can also lead to ear infections and even kidney disease.

Kawasaki disease causes inflammation of your arteries. Left untreated, this may become a long-term health issue.

Toxic shock syndrome can easily lead to death if left untreated. Additionally, it can lead to shock (hence the name) as well as organ damage.

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Do I need to go to the doctor for this?

We recommend that you visit the doctor right away if you notice you have strawberry tongue. As we detailed above, some of the conditions that cause your tongue to look this way can be very serious or even fatal if left untreated.

You’ll need a doctor to diagnose what is actually causing strawberry tongue, and that same doctor can prescribe the right course of treatment. For example, if the cause is allergies, a doctor can provide the antihistamine treatments or something more serious (like epinephrine and intravenous steroids) as needed. And if you have scarlet fever, a doctor can provide the antibiotics you need.

A vitamin deficiency can be fixed with a change in diet and/or vitamin supplements and injections. And as for Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, each of these requires a multi-step process to effectively treat. Your doctor can provide that treatment and help make that unwanted strawberry tongue a thing of the past.