A Study released Tuesday, that the popular Vicks VapoRub poses risk to infants and toddlers Well-Known Remedy May Cause Breathing Problems.
Dr. Bruce Rubin, the study's lead author from the department of pediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in Winston Salem, NC, and his colleagues became interested in the effects of VVR on young children when they cared for an 18-month-old girl who developed severe respiratory distress after the salve was put directly under her nose.
Some of the ingredients in Vicks, notably the menthol, trick the brain into thinking that it is easier to breathe by triggering a cold sensation, which is processed as indicating more airflow, he said. Vicks may make you feel better but it can't help you breathe better.
This may be of little physiologic consequence in older children and adults, but in infants 2 yrs old below and small children this potentially can lead to respiratory distress, the study's authors concluded.
The best treatments for congestion are saline or salt water, gentle suction with a rubber bulb, warm drinks or chicken soup, and time, the researchers said, noting if a child is struggling to breathe, then it's a medical emergency.
This is another reminder to parents to leave their infants alone, Rubin added. Infants should not be exposed to chemicals and drugs unless absolutely necessary.