Posted in Health, news

Study Finds Mom Cleaning Pacifier by Sucking on it May Be Beneficial for Baby

A study from Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan found babies to be at an advantage when it comes to allergies, if their Mommy cleaned the pacifier with her own saliva.

128 people were surveyed on how they cleaned the pacifier, and although 53 cleaned it with soap and water and 30 would sterilize it in boiling water or in a dishwasher, 9 claimed they sucked on it until they felt it was clean.

Study authors found the children of the latter had lower IgE, antibody Immunoglobulin E, which has been linked to the development of allergies and asthma.

Last Year a study suggested kids exposed to pets as newborns would be less prone to allergies.

So one possible theory is Mom’s saliva has mouth pathogens that stimulate the immune system, making it “stronger.”



However, most medical providers would not recommend it as Mommy could pass some dangerous pathogens to her baby.

This Fall an 11 day-old baby died after contracting oral herpes when his mother kissed him on the mouth.

A newborn has an immature immune system and may not be able to combat bacteria and viruses that his mother’s mouth can harbor.


dw sketch.jpg


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Health, news

Yes Lipstick Samples Can Carry Herpes

Image above from Business Insider

A woman is reportedly suing Sephora after she contracted oral herpes from a lipstick sample.

TMZ reports a woman sampled a “common use” lipstick at a Los Angeles Sephora location in October 2015 and subsequently became infected with Type 1 Herpes Simplex virus. She claimed she never had cold sores prior to applying the lipstick sample.

Over 80% of adults carry Type 1 Herpes Simplex and may or may not exhibit cold sores.

What is Herpes?

Herpes is a virus that injects its DNA into the nerve endings located in the skin. This travels up the nerve and it can lay dormant until it decides to activate.  The activation leads to outbreaks of blisters.  Type 1 Herpes predominantly infects the mouth and Type 2 Herpes infects the genital region. However, both may overlap and Type 1 may be found in the genitals and type 2 may be found in the mouth.



Herpes Type 1 Blisters:  Image above from MedicineNet

How long can Herpes last outside the body?

The Herpes virus rarely lives once exposed to dry air, but if on moist surfaces can last up to 10 seconds.  However a study out of UCLA 30 years ago found the Type 2 virus to live close to 72 hours on linen fabric.

How is Herpes transmitted?

Herpes is transmitted by direct contact from person to person.  One does not have to have active sores or blisters to be contagious.  The virus can shed and be transmitted even if the host is asymptomatic.

How is Herpes treated?

There is no cure for herpes, but antiviral medications have been found to shorten the course of the outbreak and reduce transmission.

Can lipstick harbor the Herpes virus?

Although very rare, the potential is there as lipstick offers a temporary moist and warm environment.  Makeup usually contains chemicals that are antimicrobial but appear to fight off bacteria and fungus better than viruses.

Those wanting to sample a lipstick should use a disposable applicator on a new product and not apply anything that touched another person’s lips.


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

Childhood leukemia linked to CMV, a virus in the herpes family

A new study from the University of Nevada and University of California, San Francisco found newborns exposed to CMV, a very common virus in the Herpes family, increases their risk of ALL, acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

The Herpes Virus family, or Herpesviridae, contain a group of viruses of which we are well familiar. These include Herpes I and II causing oral and genital lesions; Varicella-Zoster, responsible for chicken pox and shingles; Epstein-Barr, associated with mononucleosis; and CMV, cytomegalovirus, which most commonly does not produce symptoms but when it does it could range from a mild fever, viral illness, to serious complications such as seizures.  The CDC states 50% of the adult population by age 40 are infected with CMV and some sources cite close to 80%.  Again, many of theses cases fail to cause symptoms or any illness.

But any of the above viruses, however, can cause serious complications in neonates.  We’ve known for some time that CMV could cause deadly issues in infants such as liver failure, pneumonia, low birth weight, microcephaly and seizures, and we’ve also suspected a cancer link.  CMV should not cause cancer but its been linked to many.  Now this particular study evaluated children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and found CMV in the bone marrow of all children tested. Then they evaluated two groups of children, one of which developed ALL, and again confirmed the link.

Acute Lymphoblastic (Lymphocytic) Leukemia occurs when an immature white blood cell, such as T or B lymphocytes, created in the bone marrow to combat infection, abnormally accumulates and becomes cancerous.   This is different from AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia) in which a myeloid cell (macrophage/monocyte/platelet and giving rise to red blood cells) becomes cancerous.  AML is the most common type of leukemia in adults, whereas ALL is the most common type of leukemia in young children even though both can be found in adults and children. The overcrowding of these blood cells prevent new blood cells from being formed properly and can cause symptoms of frequent infections, shortness of breath, fatigue, pain, easy bleeding and bruising and swollen lymph nodes.

ALL, however, can be successfully treated, with St. Jude citing 90% of children can be cured.  98% can go into remission within weeks of starting treatment and after 10 years of remission they are considered cured.  Treatments include chemotherapy, stem cell transplants and bone marrow transplants, and radiation therapy.

If a pregnant mom becomes newly infected with CMV a high-risk obstetrician will oversee and manage the pregnancy and the fetus with ultrasound and amniocentesis. A person with a previous infection to CMV (since its a very common virus) appears to be unlikely to reactivate and infect their fetus.

A current CMV infection will have the symptoms of fever, swollen glands, fatigue and sore throat, so pregnant women with any of these symptoms should discuss with her medical provider.    Not all women pass CMV to their fetus’ nor all fetuses infected show organ damage.  However, congenital CMV infection can be serious and this recent study highlights its potential for cancer.


                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician