Vicks VapoRub is a hugely popular topical medication used to relieve chest congestion and other symptoms of the common cold, but parents and caregivers should never apply Vicks to children under the age of 2, according to new pediatrics research published in the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
Because application of Vicks VapoRub can cause increased mucus production and inflammation of respiratory airways that are narrower in very young children, serious breathing problems can result. According to a Press Release from the American College of Chest Physicians, authors of the study "became interested in the effects of Vicks VapoRub on small children after they cared for an 18-month-old girl who developed severe respiratory distress after Vicks was put directly under her nose." The lead author of the study, Bruce K. Rubin, MD, a professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest University's Brenner Children's Hospital, declared: "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."