Brittany Mahomes is opening up about how she and her husband, Patrick Mahomes, raise their children with food allergies.
Last summer, their youngest child was rushed to the hospital after having a severe reaction to peanuts.
Brittany advocates for food allergy awareness, education and treatment.
Kansas City Chiefs MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his wife Brittany are the parents of two children with severe food allergies.
Last summer, Brittany rushed their son Bronze, then 8 months old, to the emergency room after he reacted to mixed peanuts being put in his bottle. This is a standard practice recommended by doctors, said Dr. Jameel Clark, a pediatrician at Norton Children’s Medical Group.
“We have a lot of literature that supports the idea that early introduction of highly allergenic foods during the first year of life appears to be protective against the development of food allergies,” Clark told Healthline.
However, sometimes children are allergic to common allergens at this young age.
About 20 minutes after Bronze drank the formula, he started acting fussy.
“It was almost bedtime… so I thought, okay, maybe he’s just tired, let’s go ahead and take him to the bath and get him ready for bed,” said Brittany told Healthline. “Then I took his diaper off and realized he was completely in hives, and within a few minutes it started getting worse and going all over his body, and within 10 minutes it was covering his whole body , including his face, which then started to freak me out a little.
Because she already knew that her oldest child, Sterling, was allergic to peanuts, milk, and eggs, Brittany was afraid of introducing peanuts to Bronze. Having Sterling’s AUVI-Q epinephrine auto-injector nearby made her feel more at ease.
“I ended up not having to use him for the Bronze, but we ended up going to the ER where they then told me he would be fine, and everything looked fine, and we stayed there for a few hours just to make sure and then we went home,” Brittany said.
The Mahomes children are representative of the 1 in 13 children who suffer from a food allergy. Their allergies were a surprise to their parents since neither Patrick, nor Brittany, nor their family members are allergic.
“Sometimes people assume that food allergy is genetic. That if a parent has a certain food allergy, then the child will have that food allergy,” Clark said.
While it’s true that children whose parents have a food allergy are more likely to have one, Clark said that doesn’t mean children are guaranteed to have allergies.
“And even if they do, it might not be the same food,” Clark added.
Knowing that certain foods could put your child’s life at risk can cause anxiety and fear in parents.
According to a Systematic reviewParents of children living with food allergies identified anxiety as the most severe form of emotional distress specific to food allergies.
Many people underestimate the work and stress and anxiety of caring for a child with allergies, said Ayelet Goldhaber, a pediatric gastrointestinal dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“Every packaged item must be checked for ingredients and evaluated for the possibility of cross-contamination, and food labels are often difficult to interpret. Companies often change ingredients without warning, and labels on a package can change from one shopping trip to the next,” she told Healthline.
By being informed about food allergies and their treatment, the Mahomes family feels empowered to keep their children safe.
“(We) faced this problem and now feel confident to live our lives like this,” Brittany said.
For example, they always bring allergy-friendly snacks with them wherever they go.
“We bring snacks for the other kids so they can all eat the same ones because when you’re in a group with kids they all like to eat the same thing so we’re heavy in the snack compartment in our house,” Brittany said. .
Whether they’re at home, at a friend’s house or at a Chiefs game, she always keeps an eye on the kids. In addition, she ensures that everyone around the children is informed of their allergies.
“(Our) family, our friends, all of Sterling’s friends, all the kids they hang out with, everyone around us at any time, knows that my kids have allergies, and if anything were to happen, it’s our AUVI.-Q, this is how you use it – it walks you through it, it tells you how to do it,” Brittany said.
Conveying the serious nature of food allergies while emphasizing the child’s normal character is a difficult balance, Goldhaber said.
“We want family and friends to embrace and invite children with food allergies and understand the need to follow the guidelines given by parents, but also feel comfortable including them in activities with others children,” she said.
She recommended providing clear guidelines and giving three or four examples of foods that can be safely fed to a child.
“Specific examples allow the friend or family member to confidently accommodate the child,” Goldhaber said.
Clark added the importance of educating others about the potential consequences of contact with a food allergen, as well as the signs and symptoms of serious allergic reactions like anaphylaxis.
“They should also be given instructions on how to administer treatment, including injecting epinephrine in cases of severe allergic reactions,” she said.
Although allergies bring some parenting challenges, Brittany said her goal is to keep children safe and teach them how to stay safe as they grow. Now that Sterling is almost three, she’s starting to understand her food allergies.
“(What) we explain to her is that (certain foods) will make her stomach hurt or itchy… she understands that it doesn’t feel good and she knows it, so she says to me: “Mom , I’m ‘Itchy,’ or something like that,” Brittany said.
Because Bronze can eat things that Sterling can’t, Brittany said Sterling is also learning from his brother’s experience.
“Bronze can handle milk, so we give her stuff and she says, ‘It has milk in it?’ Is this going to hurt my stomach? and I’m like, ‘Yes, ma’am, it will, exactly,'” Brittany said.
Although she knows it is difficult to protect her children from everything in the world, Brittany feels it is her job as a parent to allow her children to take control of their allergies as they enter the world without her or Patrick by their side.
“It’s definitely a little anxiety-inducing and nerve-wracking, but as a parent, your job is to teach your children how to live as they go forward,” she said.
Clark added that empowering children with food allergies can also help them feel less alone.
“Even though conditions like this can seem isolating, parents can help their children understand that they don’t have to feel stigmatized because of a food allergy. There are many other people who need to be careful about what they consume for a number of reasons,” Clark said.
To help educate and empower parents of children with severe food allergies, Brittany has partnered with AUVI-Q, the epinephrine auto-injector she uses for her two children. She particularly likes that it “talks” and explains to you how to use it.
“I think having something that speaks to you will help any mom or anyone going through this situation to be a little more at ease, and it will remind you to call 911,” Brittany said.
Whether it’s AUVI-Q or EpiPen, children with a known food allergy should have access to injectable epinephrine, Clark said.
“This could help save a child’s life in the event of unintentional exposure to a food allergen,” she said. “If a child is exposed to a food allergen and experiences difficulty breathing, excessive vomiting (especially with a rash), swelling of the mouth, lips or tongue, they should be given epinephrine and be immediately taken to the emergency room. »
As part of her partnership with AUVI-Q, Brittany shared her family game plan with Patrick for their children’s allergies at foodallergygameplan.com.
“My main message to mothers or anyone caring for children with food allergies is to be able to speak confidently on behalf of children and advocate for their interests, because their safety, their life is between (your) hands,” she said.