Message Number: FHL12985 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2011-03-09 23:42:24 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] why to never use Vicks around ferrets
To: fhl <>

A reminder during flu season:

Both menthol and eucalyptus have been shown capable of creating mucus membr=
ane and sometimes skin irritation and inflammation in herbal studies, BTW, =
and note other things reported with use of that compound including liver da=
mage in the press release.

The complete journal article can be found here and "peer reviewed" means th=
at multiple other experts in the field independently read the article befor=
ehand and decide if they consider it worth inclusion, worth inclusion IF so=
meone has an added rebuttal, or in need of rewriting:

and here is the abstract:

> Chest. 2009 Jan;135(1):143-8.
> Vicks VapoRub induces mucin secretion, decreases ciliary beat frequency, =
and increases tracheal mucus transport in the ferret trachea.
> Abanses JC, Arima S, Rubin BK.
> Department of Pediatrics, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Wins=
ton-Salem, NC 27157-1081, USA.
> Comment in:
> =95 Chest. 2009 Aug;136(2):650; author reply 650-1.
> Abstract
> BACKGROUND: Vicks VapoRub (VVR) [Proctor and Gamble; Cincinnati, OH] is o=
ften used to relieve symptoms of chest congestion. We cared for a toddler i=
n whom severe respiratory distress developed after VVR was applied directly=
under her nose. We hypothesized that VVR induced inflammation and adversel=
y affected mucociliary function, and tested this hypothesis in an animal mo=
del of airway inflammation.
> METHODS: [1] Trachea specimens excised from 15 healthy ferrets were incub=
ated in culture plates lined with 200 mg of VVR, and the mucin secretion wa=
s compared to those from controls without VVR. Tracheal mucociliary transpo=
rt velocity (MCTV) was measured by timing the movement of 4 microL of mucus=
across the trachea. Ciliary beat frequency (CBF) was measured using video =
microscopy. [2] Anesthetized and intubated ferrets inhaled a placebo or VVR=
that was placed at the proximal end of the endotracheal tube. We evaluated=
both healthy ferrets and animals in which we first induced tracheal inflam=
mation with bacterial endotoxin (a lipopolysaccharide [LPS]). Mucin secreti=
on was measured using an enzyme-linked lectin assay, and lung water was mea=
sured by wet/dry weight ratios.
> RESULTS: [1] Mucin secretion was increased by 63% over the controls in th=
e VVR in vitro group (p < 0.01). CBF was decreased by 35% (p < 0.05) in the=
VVR group. [2] Neither LPS nor VVR increased lung water, but LPS decreased=
MCTV in both normal airways (31%) and VVR-exposed airways (30%; p =3D 0.03=
), and VVR increased MCTV by 34% in LPS-inflamed airways (p =3D 0.002).
> CONCLUSIONS: VVR stimulates mucin secretion and MCTV in the LPS-inflamed =
ferret airway. This set of findings is similar to the acute inflammatory st=
imulation observed with exposure to irritants, and may lead to mucus obstru=
ction of small airways and increased nasal resistance.
> PMID: 19136404 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Free Article


>From an earlier post on mine with much of the original press release:

They used ferrets as their subjects because of their
close airway anatomy to humans. Results show VapoRub increases mucus
secretion in both normal and inflamed airways. It also slows the speed
at which mucus is cleared from the trachea....

SOURCE: Chest, 2009:135;143-148


Press Release:

Although the press release talks a lot about use in children
notice that after noting problems in children the work was
done on ferrets so what has been learned is directly
applicable for ferrets.


Public release date: 13-Jan-2009

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Popular cold and cough treatment may create respiratory distress in
young children

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. 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.

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."

Vicks VapoRub was first compounded in 1891, in Greensboro. It was
introduced in 1905 with the name Vick's Magic Croup Salve. The flu
epidemic of 1918 increased sales from $900,000 to $2.9 million in just
one year and Procter & Gamble has since marketed the product as "The
only thing more powerful than a mother's touch."

The salve is widely used to relieve symptoms of colds and congestion,
but there are few data supporting an actual clinical benefit,
according to Rubin. Vicks has been reported to cause inflammation in
the eyes, mental status changes, lung inflammation, liver damage,
constriction of airways and allergic reactions.

Interest in conducting the study developed after Rubin and colleagues
treated an infant who was taken to the emergency room after developing
severe respiratory distress following the application of Vicks
directly under her nose. Researchers sought to determine the effect 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 anybody
adult 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 nasal passages also have problems," Rubin said. "The best
treatments for congestion are a bit of saline (salt water) and gentle
rubber bulb suction, warm drinks or chicken soup, and, often, just
letting the passage of time heal the child."

Dr. Rubin also notes that if a child is struggling to breathe, it is a
medical emergency and would require the child to be seen by a doctor
as quickly as possible.

Co-researchers for the study were Juan Carlos Abanses, M.D., and
Shinbu Arima, M.D., both of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical


Sukie (not a vet)

Recommended ferret health links:
all ferret topics:

"All hail the procrastinators for they shall rule the world tomorrow."
(2010, Steve Crandall)


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