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Popular Cold And Cough Treatment May Create Respiratory Distress In Young Children

Posted Jan 19 2009 1:16am

New research out of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center suggests that Vicks® VapoRub®, the popular menthol compound used to relieve symptoms of cough and congestion, may instead create respiratory distress in infants and small children. Vicks VapoRub may stimulate mucus production and airway inflammation, which can have severe effects on breathing in an infant or toddler.

The study appears in this month’s issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, and reports that the product may stimulate mucus production and airway inflammation, which can have severe effects on breathing infants or young children because of the small size of their airways.

“The ingredients in Vicks can be irritants, causing the body to produce more mucus to protect the airway,” said Bruce K. Rubin, M.D., lead author of the study and a professor in the department of pediatrics at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest Baptist. “Infants and young children have airways that are much narrower than those of adults, so any increase in mucus or inflammation can narrow them more severely.”

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