The Power of Breastmilk: Kills HIV Virus!

Breast Milk Protects Against Oral Transmission of HIV

Published on June 15, 2012 at 1:02 AM

More than 15 percent of new HIV infections occur in children. Without treatment, only 65 percent of HIV-infected children will live until their first birthday, and fewer than half will make it to the age of two. Although breastfeeding is attributed to a significant number of these infections, most breastfed infants are not infected with HIV, despite
prolonged and repeated exposure.

HIV researchers have been left with a conundrum: does breast milke transmit the virus or protect against it?

New research from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine explores this paradox in a humanized mouse model, demonstrating that breast milk has a strong virus killing effect and protects against oral transmission of HIV.

“This study provides significant insight into the amazing ability of breast milk to destroy HIV and prevent its transmission,” said J. Victor Garcia, PhD, senior author on the study and professor of medicine in the UNC Center for Infectious Diseases and the UNC Center for AIDS Research. “It also provides new leads for the isolation of natural products that could be used to combat the virus.”

Garcia and colleagues pioneered the humanized “BLT” mouse model, which is created by introducing human bone marrow, liver and thymus tissues into animals without an immune system of their own. Humanized BLT mice have a fully functioning human immune system and can be infected with HIV in the same manner as humans.

In the study, the researchers first determined that the oral cavity and upper digestive tract of BLT mice have the same cells that affect oral transmission of HIV in humans and then successfully transmitted the virus to the mice through these pathways. When the mice were given virus in whole breast milk from HIV-negative women, however, the virus could not be transmitted

“These results are highly significant because they show that breast milk can completely block oral transmission of both forms of HIV that are found in the breast milk of HIV-infected mothers: virus particles and virus-infected cells.” said Angela Wahl, PhD, a post-doctoral researcher in Garcia’s lab and lead author on the paper. “This refutes the ‘Trojan horse’ hypothesis which says that HIV in cells is more stubborn against the body’s own innate defenses than HIV in virus particles.”

Finally, the researchers studied the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with antiretroviral medication for oral transmission of HIV. Garcia and his team have previously shown that PrEP is effective against intravenous, vaginal and rectal transmission of HIV in humanized BLT mice. In this study, they gave the mice antiretroviral drugs for seven days (3 days before and 4 days after exposing them to the virus) and found 100 percent protection against virus transmission. These latest findings provide important leads to alternative treatments that could be used to prevent transmission.

“No child should ever be infected with HIV because it is breastfed. Breastfeeding provides critical nutrition and protection from other infections, especially where clean water for infant formula is scarce,” Garcia said.

“Understanding how HIV is transmitted to infants and children despite the protective effects of milk will help us close this important door to the spread of AIDS.”

The study appears in the June 14, 2012 issue of the online journal PLoS Pathogens.

Source University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Children, Pregnant Women and Heat: It Can Be Dangerous!

Extreme Heat: Effects on Children and Pregnant Women

Heat-related illnesses are common, yet preventable on hot days. Children and pregnant women need to take extra precautions to avoid overheating on days of extreme heat. Dehydration, heat stroke, and other heat illnesses may affect a child or pregnant woman more severely than the average adult. Download a copy of this information (PDF) (2 pp, 80K, About PDF).

Why are children more susceptible to extreme heat?

  • Physical characteristics – Children have a smaller body mass to surface area ratio than adults, making them more vulnerable to heat-related morbidity and mortality. Children are more likely to become dehydrated than adults because they can lose more fluid quickly.
  • Behaviors – Children play outside more than adults, and they may be at greater risk of heat stroke and exhaustion because they may lack the judgment to limit exertion during hot weather and to rehydrate themselves after long periods of time in the heat. There are also regular reports of infants dying when left in unattended vehicles, which suggests a low awareness of the dangers of heat events.

How do I know if my child is dehydrated?

  • Decreased physical activity
  • Lack of tears when crying
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability and fussiness

What should I do if my child has become dehydrated?

  • Have the child or infant drink fluid replacement products
  • Allow for rehydration to take a few hours, over which children should stay in a cool, shaded area and sip fluids periodically
  • Call your doctor if symptoms do not improve or if they worsen

How do I know if my child has suffered a heat stroke?
Heat stroke, a condition in which the body becomes overheated in a relatively short span of time, can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

  • Skin is flushed, red and dry
  • Little or no sweating
  • Deep breathing
  • Dizziness, headache, and/or fatigue
  • Less urine is produced, of a dark yellowish color
  • Loss of consciousness

What should I do if my child has suffered a heat stroke?

  • Immediately remove child from heat and place in a cool environment
  • Place child in bath of cool water and massage skin to increase circulation (do not use water colder than 60F – may restrict blood vessels)
  • Take child to hospital or doctor as soon as possible

How can children be protected from the effects of extreme heat?

  • Hydration – Make sure children are drinking plenty of fluids while playing outside, especially if they are participating in sports or rigorous physical activity. Fluids should be drunk before, during and after periods of time in extreme heat.
  • Staying indoors – Ideally, children should avoid spending time outdoors during periods of extreme heat. Playing outside in the morning or evenings can protect children from dehydration or heat exhaustion. Never leave a child in a parked car, even if the windows are open.
  • Light clothing – Children should be dressed in light, loose-fitting clothes on extremely hot days. Breathable fabrics such as cotton are ideal because sweat can evaporate and cool down the child’s body.

How do I care for my infant during hot weather?

  • Check your baby’s diaper for concentrated urine, which can be a sign of dehydration.
  • If your infant is sweating, he or she is too warm. Remove him or her from the sun immediately and find a place for the baby to cool down.
  • Avoid using a fan on or near your baby; it dehydrates them faster.
  • A hat traps an infant’s body heat and should only be worn in the sun to avoid sunburn.
  • Never leave an infant in a parked car, even if the windows are open.

Why are pregnant woman especially at risk during periods of extreme heat?
An increase in the core body temperature of a pregnant woman may affect the fetus, especially during the first trimester.

How can pregnant women protect themselves from the effects of extreme heat?

  • Wear light loose fitting clothing
  • Stay hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day
  • Avoid caffeine, salt, and alcohol
  • Balance fluids by drinking beverages with sodium and other electrolytes
  • Limit midday excursions when temperatures are at their highest
  • Call doctor or go to emergency room if woman feels dizzy, short of breath, or lightheaded

Where can I find more information about extreme heat?



More on Water Safety: Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

Three children have already died this summer in Minnesota due to drowning incidents. These are two deaths that could have been prevented. One boy died while swimming IN A SWIMMING POOL with a lifeguard present.

Drowning is the Number 2 cause of accidental death in children under the age of 15.

From the article Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning by Mario Vittone.

1. Of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will drown within 25 yards of a parent or other adult.

2. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC).

3. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. Their mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water so they can’t speak.

5. Drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements so they can’t wave for help, move toward a rescuer, or reach out for a piece of rescue equipment.

6. Their bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a kick. Unless rescued they can only stay above water for 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.

Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning.  They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck.  One  way to be sure? 

1. Ask them: “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. 

2. If they return  a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. 

3. And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

Here are the stories about the two little ones who died. One is the son of a co-worker in my building.

WINONA, Minn. — A 5-year-old girl drowned Monday evening at Goodview’s LaCanne Park.

Emily Margarita Lopez Leon, of Arcadia, Wis., was with her family at the LaCanne Park beach when family members noticed she was missing.

The emergency report of a child missing at the park was called in at 6:43 p.m. and a search of the park and lake was launched.

First responders used a human chain to walk the swimming area of the beach. The girl was located at approximately 7:30 p.m. in about three feet of water, about 60 feet from the shore within the roped swimming area.

She had been in the water between 35 and 45 minutes, according to Goodview Police Chief Kent Russell.

The child was transported to Winona Health, where she was pronounced dead.

Goodview police, first responders and firefighters, Winona police and firefighters, the Winona County Sheriff’s Department and Dive Rescue, Winona Area Ambulance and Medlink Air joined in the search.

A 6-year old boy drowned in a supervised pool while at a birthday party on Friday evening at Oak Ridege Country Club in Hopkins.

The boy was spotted unresponsive in the water by a lifeguard, and country club employees and members were performing CPR on him when police arrived. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, where he was pronounced dead.

Hopkins police Sgt. Michael Glassberg said it was not clear what led to the drowning and said he knew of no issues with equipment safety at the pool. The pool has deep and shallow ends, a slide and other features. Glassberg said he didn’t know how deep the water was where the boy was found.

The drowning is under investigation by Hopkins police and the Hennepin County sheriff. “This is obviously a tragic situation,” Glassberg said. “We just want to remind people about pool safety. Summer’s here. We just need to make sure we’re being safe.”

Girl drowns in above-ground swimming pool in Minnesota

Published June 07, 2012, 06:11 PM

CHISAGO, Minn. — A toddler has drowned in an above-ground swimming pool after wandering outside her family’s home in east-central Minnesota.

The Chisago County sheriff’s office was called to a home south of Chisago City around 5:40 p.m. Wednesday on a report of a 14-month-old drowning victim. When sheriff’s officials arrived they found a neighbor who also is a nurse performing CPR on the girl.

The girl was pronounced dead in an emergency room. Her name was not immediately released.

Authorities say the girl’s father was outside working while his wife was inside with the children. He says his wife thought the girl was upstairs playing with her two older sisters.

The victim drowned in the shallow end of the pool. She may have been unaccounted for about a half-hour.

Yet Another Toddler in a Washing Machine? Water Safety Tips for Babies and Tots

The video of the toddler rolling around in the Laundromat washing machine is a little bit too much to handle. And a little too much of plain old stupidity for me.

But safety tips….that I can take.

Everyone has heard that a child can drown in a few inches of water. Having worked during my college days for the Consumer Product Safety Commission as a data entry person, nothing surprises me. Children can die or be severely harmed by all kinds of household objects, not just toys.

If you’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it again. NEVER leave your child unattended in or around water. I just get sick to my stomach when I hear about young children dying in hot tubs or washing machines…You cannot be too careful.

Warnings about Child Safety by Angela Haupt at Yahoo:

Between 2005 and 2009, two children under the age of five died as a result of laundry room accidents, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Washing machine-related injuries are more common than deaths, says Scott Wolfson, director of public affairs for the CPSCburns from hot water in the machine, or injuries to their limbs if they come into contact with a rapidly spinning basin. “Kids are curious. We have to be very vigilant about our children, and really live in the moment and be present when we’re supervising them,” says Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, which aims to prevent unintentional childhood injuries.

Five other things to be cautious of:

Standing water. Drowning concerns extend beyond swimming pools. Any type of standing water-even if it’s just an inch deep-can harm a child. “The bathroom is the riskiest room in the house,” says Garry Gardner, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ council on injury, violence, and poison prevention. “Children lean over and look into the toilet or bathtub, they trip, and they fall in.” Keep young children out of the bathroom unless they’re being closely watched, and teach others in the home to keep the bathroom door closed at all times. Ice chests with melted ice, water buckets or pails, and whirlpools also pose risks. Empty all buckets, pails, and bathtubs completely after use; never leave them filled or unattended. And adjust the water heater thermostat so that the hottest temperature at the faucet is 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to help avoid burns.

Televisions. Between 2000 and 2010, nearly 170 children ages 8 and younger were fatally crushed by falling TVs, the CPSC reports One child, for example, bumped a 100-pound TV that was placed on an aquarium stand. When it fell, it crushed his skull. The best preventative step? Using adequately-sized, sturdy stands and shelves to support TVs. They should not be placed on stands that have drawers, since kids could use them as steps to climb to the top, and parents shouldn’t put remote controls, toys, or anything else atop TV sets. “We’re seeing a mini-epidemic,” Gardner says. “If a TV is heavy and sitting on a small stand, and a kid climbs up on it, he’s going to pull it right over.”

Button batteries. These high-powered lithium batteries, no bigger than a nickle, are used to power small electronic devices, including remote controls, watches, musical greeting cards, and ornaments. When accidently swallowed, they can get stuck in the esophagus and generate an electrical current that causes severe chemical burns and tissue damage. “The window of opportunity for getting it out before it causes irreparable damage is two hours,” Gardner says. If you’re even remotely concerned that your child has ingested one of the batteries, head to the emergency room immediately.

Treadmills. In 2009, Mike Tyson’s 4-year-old daughter was strangled to death by a dangling treadmill cord. And it wasn’t an isolated accident. More than 25,000 children under age 14 are injured each year by exercise equipment, including stationary bikes, treadmills, and stair climbers. Treadmill injuries are typically caused by the moving parts (like the running deck and belt), hard edges, and programmed speeds. Some precautionary steps: When a treadmill isn’t in use, unplug it and lock it up, or even surround it with a safety gate. Remove the safety clip that’s tied around the handrail. Keep kids away from the machine whenever it’s in use.

Coffee. Be wary of where you set down that morning cup of joe. A child could accidently tip it over. Burns, especially scalds from hot water and other liquids, are some of the most common childhood accidents. “Kids are not small adults. Because they’re growing, their skin is more fragile,” Carr says. “And their body surface is much smaller, so a little bit of coffee goes a long way.”

More tips from the HealthEast Maternity Care Newsletter:

Did you know?
Drowning is the second most common cause of injury-related fatalities among children between the ages of 1 and 4. The best prevention of drowning is never to let children be alone near water of any depth.

Swimming: safety first
A child can drown in a minute. In fact, most young children who drowned in swimming pools were in the care of one or both parents at the time and had been out of sight for less than five minutes. While teaching your toddler water safety and, ultimately, to swim will eventually protect him, careful and constant supervision is essential to prevent drowning now.

Teaching your toddler water safety can be fun for both of you. Enroll in a YMCA swimming class for parents and toddlers to learn water safety and have fun. No matter how much your toddler loves the water, however, he must always be within an arm’s reach until he is over 5 years of age and a strong swimmer-even if you are just in a backyard wading pool. If your child is fearful of the water, don’t force him to swim, as doing so may increase his fear.

Water play
There are endless ways to enjoy the water with your toddler. Sit in a kiddy pool with her in just an inch or two of water and pass a ball back and forth between you. Fill or empty cups as you would in the sink or tub. In the shallow end of an adult pool, hold her in your arms and bounce together in the water while singing Ring Around the Rosie. If your child has a fear of water but is comfortable in your arms, you can offer her the choice of falling up (out of the water) or down (submerged no higher than her chest).”

I know you’re thinking that this is all old news. But if it helps save one toddlers life, it’s worth it.