November 15, 2011

The Uses For Vick’s Vapor Rub

Filed under: breathing,cough,respiratory — Tags: , , , — drwatson @ 6:18 pm

Does Vick's Vapor Rub Actually Work

How does Vapor Rub work?

The short answer: the research is still not clear. A study of 144 children conducted  in 2008-2010, published in Pediatrics (2011) revealed that petrolatum-based vapor medicines like Vick’s Vapor Rub helps to alleviate the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection (URI.) The exact mechanism for achieving this, however, remains unknown.

Doctors tested whether a bedtime application of a petrolatum product containing camphor – vapor rub (VR) – to the chest of a child would result in parental reports of improvement of the child’s symptoms, as well as improved child sleep. Tested also was parental sleep, with applications of the VR being given to the parents. The findings were significant; the VR group tested better for symptoms than the no-treatment group, and also, for the non-VR, petrolatum group.

Researchers have theorized as to why the camphor might improve symptoms, including the (perceived) sensation of improved airflow.   In fact, finding no discernible causal link, the researchers go so far as to suggest that the improvement in symptoms may be entirely the result of perception or placebo effect. Whatever the reason, VR rubs appear to offer a possible intervention for children and parents suffering the effects of upper respiratory tract infection.

Can you use Vick’s Vapor Rub When Pregnant?

In the case of a mother using a product such as Vick’s Vapor Rub during pregnancy there is nothing to suggest that VR rubs would be harmful to an unborn child. The three main ingredients, menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor, are safe during pregnancy.

I heard you could use Vick’s Vapor Rub on Feet?

The application of Vick’s Vapor Rub on feet is another possible example of the aforementioned placebo effect. There have been no official studies conducted (yet) to demonstrate the effectiveness of this foot-based approach; Snopes , Detective Skeptic , and other fact-finding websites have all produced articles to this point, addressing the litany of personal testimonials and ringing endorsements. That is, the public continues to assert the legitimacy of vapor rubs on the feet used to treat chest congestion and other ailments.

Uses for Vapor Rub

The uses for VR formulas vary beyond what has been mentioned so far, including use for dry skin, tension headaches , eczema, counteracting asthma triggers , toenail fungus, and tennis elbow. The vapor formulas and applications themselves vary considerably as well. For example, next time before using a vapor rub, try one of these suggestions in a humidifier for the same type of nasal-clearing effects:

  • White Camphor (the active ingredient in Vick’s Vapor Rub) oil.
  • Eucalyptus oil, another ingredient, is great for clearing congestion and asthma.
  • Lavender oil achieves the same effects, but is even gentler on infants, and works for asthma too.

Be it through public trial, or scientific study, the signs seem to be indicating that the traditional vapor rub formula(s) are viable treatments for both children and adults suffering from URI. As the science progresses doctors will hopefully have a better understanding of how the exact mechanism responsible behaves.

September 21, 2009

The Danger of Asthma

In 2006 approximately 22.9 million Americans reported having an asthma attack. The reality is that asthma is very serious and can change the way a person lives. There are many misconceptions of asthma, like if you didn’t get it when you were a child then you’ll never get it. Well you couldn’t be more wrong. Asthma can present itself in almost anyone, at almost any age. In fact, the same study in 2006 showed that out of the 22.9 million Americans that reported having an asthma attack, 2.5 million of them were over the age of 65!

Furthermore, many people don’t realize what asthma really is. Most people that have heard of asthma know that it effects breathing, but what they don’t know is that asthma causes the tubes that allow air to travel in and out to become inflamed. That is why asthma can become so dangerous. Without treatment asthma can be life threatening however, fortunately for us there are many forms of treatment available. Most treatment methods feature an inhaler that is used when an asthma attack occurs.

For those that are wondering if they should be checked for asthma, some common symptoms include:

  • A wheezing sound when you breathe. This may only occur when you are suffering from a cold.
  • Cough. You may cough up mucus. The cough often comes back and it may last more than a week.
  • Shortness of breath. You may have difficulty breathing only now and then, or you may have problems quite often. It feels as if you can’t get enough air into your lungs.
  • Chest tightness. Your chest may feel tight in cold weather or during exercise. Chest tightness may be one of the first signs that your asthma is getting worse.

Although scientists do not know for sure what causes asthma they are aware of some things that can contribute to reoccurring asthma attacks or asthma in adults.

  • Medications
  • Air Pollution
  • Allergies
  • Genetic

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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