Vapor ointment linked to infant breathing problems

Medical experts link Vicks VapoRub to infant respiratory distress–Doctors at Wake Forest University conducted a study to determine if Vicks VapoRub causes respiratory distress in infants and toddlers. As reported by the Washington Post, doctors began the study after they treated an 18 month-old-girl, whose parents used the Vicks rub to treat her cold symptoms. The girl was brought to the hospital after developing severe respiratory distress from the application of the popular cold rub to her nose. The toddler’s parents bought the popular over-the-counter cold remedy to help alleviate her symptoms.

Vicks VapoRub actually seems to have an opposite effect when used on infants and toddlers. Parents buy and use many over-the-counter medicines and treatments to help their children. When doctors at Wake Forest discovered the parents had used the salve, it prompted them to begin asking parents of infants, presenting with respiratory distress, if they were using cold salves. Surprisingly they found similar cases. Parents didn’t view Vicks VapoRub as real medicine. They see it as a cream you just rub on.

Researchers conducted experiments on animals with similar cold symptoms. They applied Vicks VapoRub and found a 59% increase in mucus production. At the same time the mucus production was increasing the ability to clear the mucus decreased by 36%. Vicks is not intended for use by anyone under the age of two. Pediatricians and child lung specialists do not promote the use of Vicks citing it has no benefit and may even be dangerous.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be used to treat children under the age of four in October 2008. Parents should always consult a qualified doctor before administering any prescription or over-the-counter medicine to their children. Children 5 years of age and younger are at a higher risk of developing respiratory distress because of their anatomy and age of development.

Top news for product liability lawyers by

About Author