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Brittany Mahomes is a former professional soccer player, entrepreneur, and co-owner of the Kansas City Current women’s soccer team. She is also mother to Sterling and Patrick III (Bronze), who have food allergies.

As part of her partnership with kaléo, Brittany spoke with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) about the value of raising awareness, dealing with allergic reactions, and tips for managing food allergies on the go. Kids with Food Allergies (KFA) is the food allergy division of AAFA.

Listen to the interview below, hosted by AAFA staff members Eliza Zizza, Director of Development, and Zulema Chavez, Support Center Manager.

Listen on YouTube


Zulema: Hi, Brittany. Welcome and thank you for joining us to raise awareness about food allergies. You’ve partnered with kaléo, the makers of AUVI-Q epinephrine auto-injectors, to raise awareness of severe allergic reactions in young children. Can you share with us why this is important to you and what led you to use your platform to raise awareness?

Brittany: I think as a mom of two kids that do have food allergies, I think it's important to raise awareness of this and get the information out there. I felt like when I had my first kid, I wasn't too aware that these things are actually very common and it's becoming more and more common. And there’s actually a ton of other families and moms that are dealing with the same thing.

Just making it more aware that there are lots of families out there and you're not alone dealing with this. And I obviously went through a very scary situation with my son, and we were actually prescribed our AUVI-Q through our pediatrician for Sterling when she had her reaction. We had that when Bronze’s reaction occurred and so it was just a natural fit. Just getting my story out there and letting everybody know that this is normal, this is common, and it's becoming more common.

Elisa: That’s a very powerful message. Thank you so much. If it’s all right with you, I’d like to ask about your children’s reactions. Recently, we did some research on the signs and symptoms of severe allergic reactions in infants and toddlers, and we found that they’re not the same as older children or adults.

We know that it can be tricky sometimes for parents and caregivers to figure out if their child is just getting sick or having an allergic reaction. When your children first started having allergic reactions, was it really obvious to you what was happening?

Brittany: No, it was not obvious at all. And I have went through two completely different severe reactions with both of my kids. With Sterling, it was completely different from with Bronze, and with Sterling’s, she was just vomiting and sneezing. And in a sense, that could be any sickness like a stomach bug. So, with Sterling, it was vomiting, sneezing, red itchy eyes.

And then with Bronze it was a little bit more scary, I felt like. Because with Sterling, she was vomiting; she was getting it all out. And then she showed progression pretty quickly after that, that she was a little bit better. But with Bronze, he just began to get a little bit fussy.

With Bronze, with my history with my oldest with allergies, I was a little bit more aware of things. So when Bronze came around, we started doing a little bit of early introduction with new things just because I was a little bit scarred from my oldest.

We were on the first day of peanuts. It was just a little powder that you mix into your bottle. And within the hour or so, he began to get fussy. And again, a kid being fussy could mean anything. It has a very wide range. They can’t talk to you and tell you how they’re feeling.

He just began to get a little bit fussy. So I then was like, “Maybe he’s tired, let’s go start bedtime a little bit early.” We went into the bathroom, and that’s where I took his diaper off and realized he had completely broken out into hives and welts – like just within his diaper area. And so I put him into the bath thinking this might calm him down.

And it just began to get worse and within minutes covered his entire body. So that’s when we realized I’m going to go to the emergency room just to make sure everything’s okay. But we did have our AUVI-Q on hand because like I said before, that’s what we carried for Sterling. And so we had that with us if we needed to use it, but we ultimately did not end up having to use it.

And we got to the emergency room and his heart was fine. He was breathing fine, and everything was okay. So at that moment, I could finally breathe and relax a little bit, but it is definitely terrifying as a parent to go through this. And anyway, whether it’s severe, non-severe, or from child to adult, it’s a very scary situation. And I think raising awareness about it is huge.

Elisa: Yeah, thank you for sharing that. As a mom who’s managing food allergies for my daughter, I could really empathize and relate to your story. So thanks again for raising awareness. After my daughter was diagnosed, one of the things I needed to figure out was what foods she could eat safely. And I found it really helpful to focus on what she can have and not what she can’t. What are some of your family’s favorite allergy-friendly snacks?

Brittany: I love that you said that because I think with families that have to deal with allergies, I think it’s huge to focus on things that they can have and the positive versus looking at the negative. That’s definitely a big thing that we like to do is focus on what they can have and the positive things and not so much the negative.

And some of our favorite snacks, I would say we love applesauce pouches. We love any type of fruit. We love fruit snacks and little fig bars. But there are a ton of snacks out there that are allergen-friendly, safe. And I’m sure as we go on and raise more awareness and get the stories out, I hope to think that more brands and more companies are going to keep producing allergy-safe snacks.

Elisa: You just described the foods in my diaper bag. It’s so yummy. Thanks for those tips. We know you’re a busy family, always on the go. What do you do to make sure your children have access to safe food when you’re traveling?

Brittany: We bring it ourselves. We have a really big game plan, looking ahead and staying prepared wherever we go and always just making sure that we have what we need.

So packing more than enough snacks, packing food that we can create things for them that are allergy-friendly, safe. If we know we’re going somewhere that we travel internationally, we travel all around the world and not everywhere has stuff that can accommodate us. I think just planning ahead and packing what you need at least to get you started through the first few days ‘til you can go out and find some stuff that’s safe for them is definitely the way we go about things.

Zulema: Those are great tips. So for our next question, Brittany, what steps do you take to make sure other caregivers and people around your kids understand their allergies and know how to prevent and treat a reaction if one occurs?

Brittany: I think a huge thing we’ve done from the start is make sure everyone around us knows how to use our AUVI-Q. And it does speak to you and walk you through the steps on how to use it. So I am pretty confident if someone is around that we haven’t trained on it, they will know how to use it. But we make sure everyone around us knows how to use our AUVI-Q, our epinephrine auto-injector, if we need it.

It's pretty straightforward. Bronze cannot have nuts of any kind, and Sterling cannot have milk, eggs, and nuts of any kind. And so just getting that out there and voicing that for my kids and whatever situation and wherever we are, it’s definitely what I do. And as a mom and as a parent, it’s your job to protect your kids and advocate for your kids.

A huge message I would love to get out there is don’t ever feel bad for that, and feel confident in speaking up and advocating for your kids in whatever setting you may be in.

Zulema: Yeah, that’s great. Advocating for yourself and your family is so important. Sometimes food allergies can feel overwhelming to families dealing with a new diagnosis and it can help to share messages of hope. Can you share what you’re hopeful for in the future?

Brittany: Yeah, I think I’m hopeful for most. It’s just that other families and other kids and moms out there start to be more aware of allergies and they just realize that it’s more common. And I think and I hope to not divide these families with allergies and non-allergies, but just bring them all together and making everyone aware – and to care about these kids and just be more understanding.

And I know even if you’re not dealing with allergies and you’re not having to go through it, just make sure that these kids, you’re understanding them and you’re making sure that they don’t feel alone in any setting or space.

And I hope to think that more brands and more companies and stuff begin to create things that are safe for kids with allergies and start to give more of a variety out there everywhere you go.

Elisa: Wow, what a powerful message to end on. Brittany, thank you again for your time today. It was such an honor to speak with you and learn about your experience with food allergies. Your story really hits home for me, and I’m sure it’ll resonate with the Kids with Food Allergies community as well. Thank you so much.

Brittany: Of course. Thank you, guys, for having me.

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