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Posts for tag: vapor rub

By Diji Vaughan, MD., FAAP
December 29, 2012
Category: Symptoms


The concerns regarding the safety of routine OTC (Over The Counter)  cold/cough medications in children < 4years are well known. Parents are frequently saddled with a difficult choice when children come down with cold symptoms and the need for something more than traditional comfort measures arises. We've had a number of questions regarding the safety to vapor rub and related medications as an adjunct from parents this season. Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey PA  had a similar question and were able to demonstrate the benefit of vapor rub applications in treating some of the symptoms noted during an acute upper respiratory tract infection. In their study results published in the November 2010 issue of Pediatrics journal, vapor rub administration was described aptly as an attempt to “fill the therapeutic void” created by FDA restrictions for OTC cold/cough medication administration in very young children in 2007. Vapor rub was shown to better than no treatment in relieving the symptoms of nasal congestion and cough severity and cough frequency in this study. These symptoms tend to be some of the more disturbing ones in parents of children with acute upper respiratory tract infections. Vapor rub was shown to be a valuable adjunct in alleviating these symptoms, and sleep problems that characterize upper respiratory tract infections . VapoRub, Vicks is an example of this class of OTC medications and is licensed for topical use only and contains camphor along with other ingredients like eucalyptus oil and menthol. Camphor can be toxic when ingested and can lead to fatal outcomes in young children. This reinforces the need to review treatment options with your physician and ensure proper adherence to medication administration instructions and keeping all medications out of the reach of children.