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
    Calgary
    Reply

    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.
    Denver
    Reply

    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
    McAllen,TX
    Reply

    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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