Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lay off the VapoRub

So says new study.
The strong-smelling ointment often dabbed under noses or rubbed on the soles of feet can be an irritant, increasing the production of mucus and decreasing how fast it’s cleared, potentially causing dangerous breathing problems in infants and very young children.
I don't know why people even bother using that stuff. It stinks and it doesn't really do anything. If I'm feeling like crap, and I use Vicks ... I just wind up stinking AND feeling like crap.
Jessica Rosenberg, 32, of Santa Clara, Calif., said she rubs Vicks onto the soles of her kids’ feet to quiet nighttime coughs. The new study is interesting, she said, but not enough to make her stop.

Dear God. Why would rubbing menthol on your kids foot keep them from coughing? Idiocy abounds.

This urban legends site dispels the silly "menthol on feet is good for you" myth. Though this 1908 explanation is amusing, and so very very backward: "internal morbid processes may at times be relieved by creating external irritations". In other words, if you have a headache, hit your hand with a hammer. It'll make you forget all about the headache. Oh,the fun we could have with this one.


Philip H. said...

Kind of brings the whole science illiteracy thing into focus, you know?

Tom said...

Most definitely yes. I simply can't believe the world is in such a state. I just can't get my mind around such ignorance.

Ivan Privaci said...

People are lazy, and thinking is work.

I'm still trying to figure out the new "rub crap under your nose to magically remove allergens from the air you breathe" thing that seems to be going around. ("Allergen Block®")

I looked up the patent listed on one of those, and the patent claims (as I recall - I can't seem to find where I wrote down the patent number to look again) that there are ionic or polar substances mixed into the goo that somehow electrostatically attract allergy-inducing stuff out of the air before they get all the way to your sinuses. (The article seems to echo this.)

I'm skeptical, obviously. Plus, if it worked, wouldn't that also be a serious inconvenience, having a Hitler-moustache made of pollen and dust forming on your face?

(Originally, I assumed you would actually put it around the inside of your nostrils, where it would at least be closer to the particulate matter going in there and have more chance of electrostatically interacting, which would be even worse than the "moustache". Because of this, the neologism "boogerrhea" has popped spontaneously into existence in my brain...)