Vicks VapoRub May Irritate Some Kids' Airways
For the very youngest kids, Vicks VapoRub may do more harm than good. That's the conclusion of a new study linking the product to airway inflammation in certain infants and kids younger than 2. That inflammation can occur in children when the product is put directly under the nose. (For its part, Vicks's labeling says that VapoRub shouldn't be put under the nose, and should be used only in kids over 2.) Because VapoRub doesn't actually reduce cold symptoms, but just the perception of them, doctors say it's not worth the risk, however small, of respiratory problems.
Issues with children's cough and cold medicines aren't new. U.S. News's Nancy Shute wrote about the hazards of over-the-counter cold remedies for children and toddlers, as well as the danger of trusting childproof packages for drugs.
Behind on Sleep? A Cold May Follow
Getting less than a good night's sleep can make you more likely to develop a cold, new research shows. While this may sound familiar to anyone who's had a mother, the study's authors say it's actually the first time that lack of sleep has been linked to a lower resistance to the cold virus. And the study, which appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine, sets the sleep bar pretty high: Those people who slept less than seven hours a night were almost three times as likely to get a cold when exposed to the virus. Sleeping poorly (defined as losing 8 percent of your night's sleep because of restlessness or waking up in the middle of the night) led to a fivefold increase in the chance of getting a cold.
Even With Reasons to Do So, It's Still Difficult to Quit Smoking
It's tough to quit smoking. How tough? According to a new online poll in Australia, more than half of those who resolved to quit smoking were puffing again within a week. That's no good because quitting can help cut the risk of various health hazards, ranging from various types of cancer to infertility. Aside from the obvious—like lung cancer and heart disease—there are at least 12 reasons to quit smoking, and recent research suggests a family history of stroke makes smokers 6 times as likely to also have a particular type of stroke. Rather than relying solely on willpower to quit, consider taking advantage of the secrets of successful quitters.
How smoke free is your state? Today the American Lung Association issued an annual report that grades the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report also noted a trend: American tobacco companies are offering new smokeless tobacco alternatives to cigarettes, like snus and tobacco "sticks," "orbs," and strips, though experts note they shouldn't be considered 'safe.'
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