2012-04-26

Vicks VapoRub Misuse May Harm Toddlers

Vicks® VapoRub®, the popular salve used to relieve symptoms of cough and congestion, may be harmful for infants and toddlers. New research appearing in the January issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed medical industry journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), shows that Vicks® VapoRub® (VVR) may stimulate mucus production and airway inflammation, which can have severe effects on breathing in an infant or toddler. Research findings are consistent with current VVR labeling which indicates the product should not be used on children under 2 years of age.

VVR is not indicated for patients under age 2. However, Dr. Rubin realizes that some parents are still choosing to use VVR to relieve their sick young child's symptoms, usually rubbing the salve on the feet or chest.

"I recommend never putting Vicks in, or under, the nose of anybody—adult or child. I also would follow the directions and never use it at all in children under age 2," said Dr. Rubin.

Dr. Rubin also feels that although the study only tested Vick's VapoRub, similar products, including generic brands, could cause the same adverse reaction in infants and toddlers.

"The best treatments for congestion are a bit of saline (salt water) and gentle rubber bulb suction, warm drinks or chicken soup, and, often, just letting the passage of time heal the child." Dr. Rubin also notes that if a child is struggling to breathe, it is a medical emergency and would require the child to be seen by a doctor as quickly as possible.

"Parents should consult with a physician before administering any over-the-counter medicine to infants and young children," said James A. L. Mathers, Jr., MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. "Furthermore, the American College of Chest Physicians and several other health-care organizations have concluded that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines can be harmful for infants and young children and are, therefore, not recommended."

Source: EurekAlert!

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