This post is about dispelling some common beliefs about everyday ‘treatments’ that people believe to be effective and/or safe, specifically focusing on Vaseline, Vicks VapoRub, and the use of cranberry juice to treat urinary tract infections.
Vaseline – During the drying conditions of winter, beware of VASELINE. Vaseline (the trademark name for Petroleum Jelly) is not something that you want to be putting on your, or your children’s, skin. It is made from petroleum, a leftover residue created during the refinery of crude oil, and it doesn’t actually moisturize, which is how the companies that sell it as hydrating make money. Because it feels wet, people believe it to be working as such, when, in reality, it is drying, causing people to depend on it, using it over and over. It has no healing or restorative qualities and is toxic if ingested. Why put something like this on your or your child’s skin when there are safe options that are sustainable, healing and restorative, such as virgin coconut and olive oils? In fact, according to Best Health Magazine, ” A study that was published in Pediatrics in 2000 found that extremely-low-birth-weight infants treated with petroleum jelly were more likely to develop systemic candidiasis; it created a warm, moist place for fungi to grow. “Sometimes you want the skin to breathe more,” says Celeste Lutrario,vice-president of research and development for Burt’s Bees, which does not use petrolatum in its products. She says petrolatum is an occlusive barrier, locking in moisture—but it does not allow moisture to be absorbed from the atmosphere. For example, lip balms with petrolatum and other petrochemicals can be less moisturizing than those with emollients that enable moisture exchange, contends Lutrario” (Peters).
More about Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline): http://www.care2.com/greenliving/petroleum-jelly-on-your-face.html
Cranberry Juice for Bladder Infections – Cranberry itself can be very helpful for bladder infections – in the form of a pill or unsweetened cranberry juice. Drinking regular cranberry juice is not effective as it contains A LOT of sugar. The sugar only exacerbates the issue and suppresses the immune system, possibly making the infection worse.
Vicks VapoRub – Firstly, many parents don’t realize that most doctors do not recommend the use of Vicks for children under 2. One reason is because it contains camphor, which is linked to causing seizures. In 2009, Dr. Bruce Rubin, of the pediatrics department of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, led a study on the ointment, where it was found to increase mucus and inflammation in young children.
“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”(CBS).
“”This may be of little physiologic consequence in older children and adults, but in infants and small children, this potentially can lead to respiratory distress,” the study’s authors concluded” (CBS).
Rubin said he recommends never putting Vicks in or under the nose of anyone, regardless of age. Parents should also follow the directions and not use Vicks or similar generic products on children under two, he advised.
“On Dec. 18, 2008, Health Canada said children under six years old shouldn’t be treated with cough and cold medication, citing reports of misuse, overdose and rare side-effects”(CBS).
“The best treatments for congestion are saline (salt water), gentle suction with a rubber bulb, warm drinks or chicken soup, and time, the researchers said, noting if a child is struggling to breathe, then it’s a medical emergency”(CBS).
Here is a link for a homemade, natural Vapor-Rub: Wellness Mama
Avoid Applying Vicks VapoRub to Babies, Pediatricians Say. CBS News. January 13, 2009. Web. January 19, 2013.
Peters, Diane. The Truth about Petroleum. Best Health Magazine. October 2009. Web. December 30, 2012.