- Brittany Mahomes speaks out about how she and her husband, Patrick Mahomes, parent their children with food allergies.
- Last summer, their youngest child was rushed to the hospital after he experienced a severe reaction to peanuts.
- Brittany is advocating for food allergy awareness, education, and treatment.
Kansas City Chiefs MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his wife Brittany are parents to two children with severe food allergies.
Last summer, Brittany rushed their then 8-month-old son Bronze to the emergency room after he reacted to the introduction of peanuts mixed into 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 to highly allergenic foods in the first year of life seems to be protective against the development of food allergy,” Clark told Healthline.
However, sometimes, kids are allergic to common allergens this young.
About 20 minutes after Bronze drank the formula, he began acting fussy.
“It was close to 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,” Brittany told Healthline. “Then I took his diaper off and realized he was broken out completely into hives, and within minutes it started getting worse and worse and going up his body, and within 10 minutes it was covering his entire body, his face included, which then began to make me panic a little bit.”
Because she already knew that her oldest child, Sterling, is allergic to peanuts, milk, and eggs, Brittany was scared to introduce peanuts to Bronze. Having Sterling’s AUVI-Q epinephrine auto-injector nearby made her more at ease.
“I ended up not having to use it for Bronze, but we did end up going to the emergency room where they then told me he was going to be OK, and everything looked fine, and we stayed there for a few hours just to make sure, and then we went home,” said Brittany.
The Mahomes kids are representative of the 1 in 13 children who have a food allergy. Their allergies came as a surprise to their parents as neither Patrick nor Brittany nor members of their families have allergies.
“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,” said Clark.
While it is true that children of parents who have a food allergy are more likely to have one, Clark said this does not mean children are guaranteed to have allergies.
“And even if they do, it may not be to the same food,” Clark added.
Knowing that certain foods could be potentially life threatening to your child can cause anxiety and fear for parents.
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Many people underestimate the work and often stress and anxiety involved in caring for a child with allergies, said Ayelet Goldhaber, pediatric GI dietician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“Every packaged item must be checked for ingredients and assessed for the possibility of cross-contamination, and food labels are often tricky to interpret. Companies often change ingredients without warning, and labels on a package might change from one shopping trip to the next,” she told Healthline.
Becoming educated on food allergies and treatment for them helped the Mahomes family feel empowered to keep their kids safe.
“[We’ve] dealt with it, and we now feel confident living our life like this,” said Brittany.
For instance, they always bring allergy-friendly snacks with them everywhere they go.
“We bring snacks for other kids so they can all have the same ones cause when you’re in a group with kids, they all like to eat the same thing, so we are heavy in the snack compartment in our house,” said Brittany.
Whether they’re at home, at a friend’s house, or at a Chiefs game, she always keeps her eye on the kids. Plus, she ensures that everyone who is around the kids knows about their allergies.
“[Our] family, our friends, all of Sterling’s friends, all the kids that they hang out with, everyone that is around us at any moment, knows that my kids have allergies, and if something was to happen, this is our AUVI-Q, this is how you use it — it walks you through it, it tells you how to do it,” said Brittany.
Conveying the serious nature of food allergies while also emphasizing normalcy for the child is a hard balance, said Goldhaber.
“We want family and friends to embrace and invite food allergy kiddos and understand the need to follow guidelines given by parents, but also feel comfortable including them in activities with other kids,” she said.
She recommended providing clear guidelines and giving three or four examples of foods that are safe to give to a child.
“Specific examples allow the friend or family member to more confidently host the child,” Goldhaber said.
Clark added the importance of educating others about the potential outcomes of contact with a food allergen, as well as about the signs and symptoms of serious allergic reactions like anaphylaxis.
“They should also be given instructions on how to administer treatment, including epinephrine injection if serious allergic reactions develop,” she said.
While allergies bring about some parenting challenges, Brittany said her focus is keeping the kids safe and teaching them how to keep themselves safe as they get older. Now that Sterling is almost three years old, she is beginning to understand her food allergies.
“[What] we explain to her is that [certain foods] will give her a stomachache or it will make her itchy…she understands that that doesn’t feel good and she knows, so she’ll tell me, ‘Mommy, I’m itching,’ or something like that,” said Brittany.
Because Bronze can eat things that Sterling can’t, Brittany said Sterling is learning through her brother’s experience, too.
“Bronze can handle milk, so we’ll give him stuff and she’s like, ‘It has milk in it? That’ll make my tummy hurt?’ and I’m like, ‘yes, ma’am it will, exactly,’” said Brittany.
While she knows it’s hard to protect her kids from everything in the world, Brittany believes it’s her job as a parent to empower 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 and nerve-racking, but as a parent, your job is to teach your kids how to live as they go on,” she said.
Clark added that empowering kids with food allergies can also help them feel less alone.
“While conditions like this can feel isolating, parents can help children understand that they do not have to feel a stigma for having a food allergy. There are many other people who have 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 partnered with AUVI-Q, the epinephrine auto-injector that she has for both of her kids. She particularly likes that it “talks” and walks you through how to use it.
“I think having something that speaks to you will help any mom or anybody going through that situation [be] a little more at ease, and it does remind you to call 911,” said Brittany.
Whether it’s AUVI-Q or EpiPen, children with a known food allergy should have access to injectable epinephrine, said Clark.
“It may be what helps save a child’s life in the event of an unintended exposure to a food allergen,” she said. “If a child has an exposure to a food allergen and experiences difficulty breathing, excessive vomiting (especially with rash), mouth, lip, or tongue swelling, he/she should receive epinephrine and be taken to ER immediately.”
As part of her partnership with AUVI-Q, Brittany has shared her and Patrick’s family game plan for their kids’ allergies at foodallergygameplan.com.
“My main message to moms out there or to anyone who is taking care of kids with food allergies is to be confident in speaking up for the kids and advocating for the kids because their safety, their life, is in [your] hands,” she said.
Source link : https://www.healthline.com/health-news/brittany-mahomes-children-food-allergies
Publish date : 2024-01-29 21:15:16
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