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Popular cold and cough treatment may create respiratory distress in young children
Date:1/12/2009

ct of the product on the respiratory system using ferrets, which have an airway anatomy and cellular composition similar to humans. The team conducted tests on healthy ferrets and ferrets that had tracheal inflammation (simulating a person with a chest infection) that measured the effects of Vicks on mucus secretion and buildup in the airways, and fluid buildup in the lungs.

Results showed that Vicks exposure increased mucus secretion in both normal and inflamed airways. In addition, the studies showed that exposure to the product decreased the rate by which mucus was cleared from the trachea.

The findings support current product labeling, which indicates the product should not be used on children under 2 years of age. However, many parents continue to use Vicks on their sick children, often rubbing the salve on the feet or chest, Rubin said.

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

Even when directions are followed, Vicks will make people with congestion more comfortable, but it does nothing to increase airflow or actually relieve congestion, Rubin added.

"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."

In addition to Vicks® VapoRub®, decongestants are not recommended for young children.

"Mucus is one of the most effective ways that our body protects our air passages like the nose and bronchial tubes," Rubin said. "However, lots of mucus and inflammation can cause congestion, especially in little noses. Cough and cold medicines and decongestants are dangerous and neither effective nor safe for young children. Medications to dry up na
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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