Jar of Vicks VapoRub

Q. Have you ever heard of anyone being allergic to Vicks VapoRub? A few days ago I had some congestion, and instead of taking a decongestant I decided to try rubbing a small amount of Vicks on my chest before going to bed.  The next morning the area where I had rubbed the Vicks was red and warm to the touch and very itchy. Over the next two days, it went from itching to burning and the area showed little bumps.
A. We wouldn’t be at all surprised that you could be allergic to ingredients in Vicks. People can be allergic to almost anything, from prescription drugs to herbs. From now on, we suggest you stay away from Vicks VapoRub and its ingredients (camphor, eucalyptus oil, menthol, cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, thymol and turpentine oil).

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  1. vickshaterclub

    I’m 20 weeks pregnant..so decided to avoid taking anti allergic medicine for my stuffy nose and instead applied vicks vaporub wholeheartedly on my nose and throat and behind my ears at night… woke up at 5 a.m. and discovered the red and inflamed itchy burning sensation on all the areas…its awful :-(

  2. buoyant
    So. Cal

    I had extensive allergy testing as part of immunotherapy for my sinus allergies and was shocked to find I was allergic to eucalyptus. It is in Vick’s and also in teas, soaps, and lotions I was using. I have learned to avoid it in any product, but without the testing I would never have suspected this ingredient. I used Vick’s and Noxema with abandon when young, but now avoid both.

  3. AJ

    OMG! How did you guys rid the itch? I am experiencing the same symptoms that everyone posted here , had a stuffy nose used A dab under my nose a little on my throat and thought I burned myself because I put my face over a pot of boiling water (which usually clears me right up on its own) while it was still on. But after day two of feeling like the elephant woman, I wanna pull my hair out mainly from the itch.. Clearly they added something else to it. My Mom and Dad lived by this stuff when we were kids.

  4. Random person

    I used Vicks one night after taking a bath because I had a cold and the next morning I had a rash it was red and blistering so I thought I would go away in a day but it did not and it still irritates me for a whole week so I started using soframycin skin cream on the 7 day and I hope I feel better soon please help.

    • The People's Pharmacy

      Some people do develop allergic reactions to the herbs in Vicks. We are not familiar with Soframycin, but it sounds as though it may have an antibiotic in it. We doubt that will help an allergic reaction.

  5. Wendy

    I had my yearly flu vaccination, but contracted influenza anyway & have been suffering from terrible congestion along with all the normal flu symptoms so I opened a new container of Vicks VapoRub the night before I went to bed. I’d not used it since I was a kid, but I clearly remember how good it felt to be able to go to bed with a stuffy nose & to be able to breathe thanks to Vicks having been rubbed on my chest. The night before last, I applied it to my entire neck & went to bed only to awake in the morning with bright red inflamed & thickened skin. I was already taking two types of antihistamines due to my illness so I cannot imagine how bad this would have been otherwise. Since this initial damage, my skin has been blistering & granulation has begun. Thirty-six hours have passed since I unfortunately applied this Vicks to my neck & my misery from having done this has not lessened. The affected area simultaneously burns terribly & itches. I’m having to slather antibiotic ointment on my entire neck to help prevent infection & to alleviate the discomfort. Needless to say, Vicks will NEVER be used by me again & I will be notifying all appropriate entities.

  6. Julie

    I am experiencing the same issue several others have described. I dabbed a little Vicks under my nose for some relief from a head cold, woke up with a blistering, painful rash on my nose and face, it looks awful and it’s now been 3 days since I used it. I’ve been telling everyone I know to be super careful with this stuff. I’ve always used mentholatum and wrongly assumed Vicks was the same thing.

  7. Kathy

    I also have used Vicks for years with no problems. This year used some on my chest & bit under my cheeks at bed time. The next morning had the itch & burn on just one part of chest 3 days later it is welted up. I have got severe allergies to lots of different things. Not sure it was the Vicks because it did not break out face or hands. The only other thing I used was baby oil with aloe. I was with dial antibacterial soap & just left thats when the welts showed up the next day.

    • Kathy

      I take allergy meds 2 times a day, so thankful or I am not sure what this would be like.

    • KN

      My Grandma’s first go-to anytime anyone was sick was vicks. I was the odd kid and broke out in hives when she put it on me. A few years ago I was sick and thought maybe I’d grown out of it… I used BABY vicks and didn’t have any reaction. Months later, I had a bad cold and used regular vicks on my chest… I broke out. There is something in the adult formula that I’m allergic to. The ingredients in baby vicks are just herbal oils and petroleum.

  8. Sandy

    Have not used Vicks in years but had (have / still lingering) a cold with a sore throat and dry, hacking cough. Wanted to break it up, so I rubbed some Vicks on my throat and chest. Seemed to be working fine / helping me with those symptoms, but by the end of the second day my skin in that area was bright red, rough, and itchy…clearly an allergic reaction…hives, I believe. I washed the area thoroughly with Ivory bar soap and applied Aveeno Daily Moisturizing lotion (the original lotion with colloidal oatmeal – in the beige bottle with olive green accents). Aveeno is a GREAT product and has been a soothing balm for other skin issues I’ve had, but seems to NOT have helped in this case; in fact, it burned. So I again washed the area with Ivory and patted dry – that’s all. Still red but not itchy – hopefully will subside soon on its own. I have had lifelong asthma and allergies, and I will say the Vicks did NOT seem to make those any worse. But no more Vicks for me.

  9. Amanda

    I suffer from terrible allergies so I use vapor rub a lot in order to breathe well; I’ve been using it for years but only recently (past few months) have I been using it regularly. Today, I woke up with little irritation under my nose that got worse as the day wore on…it is now red and blistery looking and warm; it is painful, like I have been blowing my nose all day. I guess I have developed an allergy to it :( Bummer cuz I love the stuff. I have been using cocoa butter lotion and Neosporin to soothe it. It’s the only thing I could think of that caused it.

  10. Kimberly

    Recently I got sick, and I read somewhere that putting vicks on your feet with socks on will help so I tried it out last nigh. I also put it on my chest and back and was awoken at 2:15am with hot flashes, burning, and itchiness. I have tried everything to go back to sleep but here I am at 4 am still wide awake and itchy. I will never ever use vicks again.

  11. Aron

    I had this on the weekend, doctors had been closed so I left it, it was soo itchy but improved after 2 days, I put sudocrem all over my face every night which managed to get rid of the little red spots and white spots I had. My face still itched me so I went to the chemist and they have ceterizine tablets for hayfever and allergic reaction. No more itching! :) hope this helps! I’m fully recovered!

  12. AS

    Put it on son and immediately turned bright red and irritated. Wow – hope Vick’s knows about this forum.

  13. jvb

    Same story, different girl. . Years later! (This is an old thread) Used the stuff all my life, like many of you. Put some under my nose and on my neck on a Friday night. Sunday morning woke to an itchy neck and a red, blistery nose. The redness on my both have progressively gotten worse. It is now 1 am, and I can’t sleep. I’m miserable. Going to the doc in the a.m. Never using this stuff again! !!!!

  14. Ben V.

    I suffered from bronchitis-like symptoms and decided to rub a generic brand of vicks on my chest and on my nostrils to help me breathe. I did not have any problems breathing but about two days after I used it, rashes and hives that look like blisters appeared on my chest where I applied the product. I immediately stopped using it and started taking Claritin during the day and Benadryl at night. It helped a lot, but then the rashes and hives reappeared the day after, which prompted me to use Claritin again. It is now my third day with this reoccurring rash and it seems to have spread a little to my back and also my forearms.
    Did anyone experience the same thing where the rash spread to other parts of your body where you have not applied any vicks? Also, for those who have recovered from it, how long did it last? Did you do anything else than taking allergy medicine to speed the recovery process? I’d appreciate any help with that.

  15. CMcG1023

    I’m not only allergic to Vicks Vapor Rub, and sore muscle rubs but other minty things. Currently holiday parties with everyone eating minty foods has me on extreme sensitivity. I end up with a red face, arm, neck, and especially hands just talking with people. I’ve learned to treat the rash immediately with cool water and taking benadryl. I can usually tolerate minute with a minty mouth wash, but these days I’m avoiding various lip balms, coffee shops, cookie tins if I’m unsure, etc.
    I advise to treat the rash/burn like a sunburn. I use milk and aloes and/or tea. At a minimum I excuse myself for a bit and “rinse” off the chemical from my skin. Baking soda as a paste also aids with some of the burning.

  16. MM

    My daughter had the same thing happen. She rubbed it under her nose and for a day or so has had swelling and little blisters on her lips. She went to Urgent Care and they gave her several shots for allergic reaction to Vick Vapor Rub.

  17. MS

    I applied vicks vapor rub right under my nose about two nights ago… I woke up yesterday with a red bump that worsened throughout yesterday forming itchy blisters by the afternoon…. it feels like a burn and resembles burn blisters… I’m very upset because I used vicks many times… anyone else recently experiencing problems like this? let me know!!!!!

  18. Missy

    I have used Vicks religiously my entire life. I am pregnant and about a month ago I developed a cold. I had a sore throat and applied Vicks to my chest as I normally do for sore throats. I woke up in the middle of the night coughing feeling like my throat was closing and was hard to breathe. I thought it was my cold making me cough. I applied it again last night for a stuffy nose and had my throat close up again. Terrifying feeling.

    • Cerp

      This also happened to my father. We quickly removed and washed the Vicks from his feet and gave his oxygen but it was at least 1 1/2 hours before he could breathe near normal.

  19. cjz

    I had always used vicks as a kid, no problems, decided to buy some and use it 2 nights ago, oh my goodness, I have the most dreadful red raised rash that is still so itchy 2 days later, am applying cream and taking antihistamines but not helping much, it is just sooo itchy.

  20. PAB

    Same problem…flu- rubbed on Vicks…now the teen aged boy has HIVES- almost like a chemical BURN. What did you people do to relieve the itch? I’ve given benedryl. Need help here

  21. LH

    This is exactly what has happened to me. And on the chest area and I certainly didn’t need anything to speed up the aging process. My skin is damaged as well and I used Vicks right after Christmas and I have sort of a new or lingering rash with round wound looking spots that itch like crazy. I will never do this again! It looks awful.

  22. Eba Marie Porter

    Well my four kids and I all have colds. Our doctor has been telling us for a while to get a humidifier to cut out the dry air which should help everyone breathe better. I finally got one and thought that I might as well get the Vick’s brand with the option to add the vapors to the mist that comes out. I also got the plugin vapor night light. My 5yr old daughter was covered in hives two days after the vapors were in the house. Vick’s was the only change we have experienced. Everyone else appears fine, but she definitely is having a similar reaction to everyone else posted here.

  23. Taine

    I have a bad cold from when I fell asleep and got a bad cold then something happened to my eye and I couldn’t see properly so my mum put some Vic’s on my chest and I took my shirt off and then I started to get welts and itching then I realized I had an allergic reaction to Vic’s.

  24. S De

    Used Vicks VapoRub for the first time a few nights ago after coming down with a cold. The bottle was not expired and I had heard great things about the product so rubbed it all over my chest and neck. It seemed to really help so I used it again the following night. The morning after though I noticed a redness all over the area where I had used the Vicks Rub, and what’s worse is that it is so greasy that I couldn’t get it all off in the shower!
    It has now been 4 days and I still have an unsightly red, bumpy and itchy rash – closest I can compare it to is a bad sunburn! I have used moisturizers and other creams but nothing seems to be working to get rid of it. Very surprised not to see this listed as a side effect, especially as there seems to be a lot of us going through the same thing! I have never had a reaction like this to anything else, and I certainly won’t be using this product again!

  25. Lori

    Wish I had seen this site before applying Vicks to my son’s chest. He woke up with a rash on his chest. Now two days later it has spread to his back, arms, legs and face. Why isn’t this listed as a side effect? I find this very disturbing. I too always used this growing up and never had issues. We will be throwing the Vicks away and never using again.

  26. Lewis S.

    My family has used Vicks for years with no problems. However we have noticed that the product does not seem to be as good as it once was. Upon looking at the bottle we noticed that Vicks is now made in Mexico. This could be I’m sure why people are experiencing problems with this product. Vicks doesn’t seem to be as strong as it once was. You used to be able to rub Vicks on your chest and you could feel it working. Now, you put it on and nothing. Very disappointed in this product and even more disappointed in Procter and Gamble. It is always sad when a well respected company that puts out an amazing product decides to not only change its product but move it out of the USA not because it will make the that product better but for the bottom line.

  27. Nica

    Evertime we got sick as children mom use to rub vicks on our chests when we were sick, I even used vicks on my lips because it help with cracked, dry, and sore lips. But until about 4 years ago I had picked up pneumonia, doc said vicks would help with my breathing, so I used it and almost landed in hospital because after I used it I really struggled to breathe. So thanks to vicks vapour rub, I now struggle with asthma. I will never use it again nor will I recommend anyone to use it.

  28. Gina

    Growing up with asthma, I often used vicks at night to help me sleep. As an adult, I would use vicks under my nose to help me sleep at night when I was congested from a cold. So last night, while feeling congested I applied vicks under my nose, just as I had done in the past. This morning, I awoke to large itchy, burning welts all over my cheeks and forehead. 3 Zyrtecs, and 1 Alegra later I am still suffering. My face is on fire, and is incredibly itchy! I will never use vicks again!

  29. M Mojica

    I’m 17 weeks pregnant and found my self with a summer head cold. I was told Vicks would help me breathe a little better. I placed Vicks on my chest and under my nose or some relief and went to bed. When I woke up I felt a burning on my face. I now have little burn blisters under my nose which really hurt!!!! Use Vicks with CAUTIION….

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