Q. I went to the hospital for an unrelated problem that prompted an X-ray and CT scan. The doctors found five nodules in my lungs.
I met with a pulmonologist to discuss this. After I mentioned that I put Vicks in my nostrils every night, as I have for 10 years, and he looked at my CT scan, he diagnosed me with lipoid pneumonia.
I am 41 and in very good health, so this was quite a surprise. I thought it was important to share.
A. Several years ago we started warning readers not to put Vicks VapoRub into their nostrils. A pulmonologist alerted us to the possibility that one of the ingredients in Vicks, petrolatum, could get into the lungs and cause chronic inflammation.
We got quite a few indignant responses from people who said they had been doing this for years. Here is just one example: “I read your warning not to put Vicks VapoRub in your nose. That’s stupid. I’ve been stuffing my nose with Vicks for years and I have never once come down with pneumonia. You can tell that to your know-it-all doctor. You shouldn’t buy into everything that doctors tell you.”
Your experience demonstrates that the pulmonologist’s warning was on target. Thank you for letting us know.

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  1. Sabrina

    I have been using Vicks for about 10 years now, I cannot sleep without it. I joke all the time saying that I’m a “Vicks addict”, but this is not the first time that I have read that putting Vicks directly INTO your nostrils causes problems. The study I had read was only in children and did not cause me that much concern but now I am having problems breathing at night and I am now getting sores in both of my nostrils but I can’t seem to stop! My nose feels so dry without it, I really do feel like an addict. Does anyone have any thoughts on me telling this to my doctor and maybe having some tests done? Now I’m concerned.

  2. Pamela G.

    I have been using vicks in the nostrils chest for several years… now, I’m getting very concerned. How do you stop without getting stopped up etc? I am really worried about health problems occurring after reading this.

  3. TJM

    Is been almost a year that I started having pain on my throat and lungs, I have so much difficulty breathing. My doctors have done so many tests without any luck. After reading this I think I know why. I seriously think I am a vapor rub addict, every single night in my nostrils, chest and even my neck. I can’t sleep without it! For at least 13 years every single night but from today on will not even get closer to that thing.
    Hope I can do this. I am so tired of having chronic pain.

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