Children and Vick’s Vapo Rub


Can this mainstay of cough/cold/flu relieve be harmful?  Vick’s Vapo Rub has been around for over 100 years.  Formulated back in 1891, it wasn’t extensively marketed until 1905 and gained popularity during the Spanish Flu of 1918.  Lately there have been many emails going around extolling other virtues of the camphor ointment.  Such as, relieving toe nail fungus and cough relief when applied to the bottom of the feet.

Each of these remedies have not been proven in any medical studies, and in cases which the email quotes a source, these sources reject or dispute that they ever offered any validation to the rumor.  The only treatment medically acknowledged for the use of this topical ointment is to apply it liberally to the chest. The vapors help to control coughs.

Children under the age of 2 should NEVER use this product.  In fact, many pediatricians do not recommend its use on children 4 years and under. Another common practice is applying this ointment under the nose.  This is not a recommended process and certain studies have shown a 59% increase in the production of mucus, which could increase coughing and in  extreme cases inhibit the ability to breath, especially in children.

This is not a negative article about Vick’s. Vick’s and its family of products have been used for a century in the relieve of coughs due to colds and flu.  What I’m advocating is to follow the directions “for use” on all products.  Always consult your physician if you have any questions about any over-the-counter medications and do not rely on emails or the Internet as the ultimate source or authority for the use of any medical product.  Even this article.

reference: Safety -276

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