Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Put down the Vicks!

No, not Michael Vick, the former NFL quarterback... that subject is an entirely different post for an entirely different blog! We're talking about Vicks VapoRub, which can be found in nearly every medicine cabinet in America. I bought a bottle myself the last time I was at the drugstore. We all have memories of our moms coating our chests with VapoRub when we were sick. Recent research has proven that we were all doing it wrong.

"The ingredients in Vicks can be irritants, causing the body to produce more mucus to protect the airway," said Bruce K. Rubin, MD, of Wake Forest University. While that's not good for anyone, it's especially not good for small children. And even though the report doesn't mention this, it can't be a good thing for someone with any airway issues... including a Congenital Heart Defect.

The study showed that VapoRub increased mucus secreation 59% in healthy, uninfected lungs. Even when a child is healthy, that much mucus could lead to airway inflammation and irritation, possibly closing the airway. Also, VapoRub doesn't actually make it easier to breathe. The menthol triggers a cold sensation as it enters the nasal cavities, which tricks the brain into believing there is increased airflow.

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