Vicks VapoRub is a topical ointment used to relieve congestion and coughs associated with colds and flu. The active ingredients are camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol. These ingredients are in a base of cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, special petrolatum, thymol, and turpentine oil. It is to be used on skin and not to be taken internally.
Dangers for Children Under Two Years
Vicks warns on its packaging that VapoRub should not be used on children under two years of age. Dr. Bruce Rubin, from the department of paediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in Winston Salem, NC, reports that a child's body produces more mucus in response to the irritating effects of the active ingredients in Vicks VapoRub. This can cause a child's respiratory infection to grow worse.
Irritation to Mucus Membranes
The active ingredients in Vicks VapoRub can be irritating to mucus membranes in your nose and throat. For this reason, do not apply VapoRub to the insides of your nostrils or get it inside your mouth. Poison control should be contacted immediately if VapoRub is ingested.
Vicks warns not to use VapoRub with tight bandages. This can cause skin irritation. Vicks does recommend that you apply a warm dry cloth over the area and keep the coverings loose so the vapours can reach your nose and throat.
Use with Heat
Do not heat VapoRub in the microwave or place the jar into a container where you are heating water, as the ointment may cause burns because it is too hot. Only use in a vaporiser according to the manufacturer's recommendations.