A Consultant Paediatrician at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idiaraba, Lagos, Dr. Gbemisola Boyede has cautioned against applying mentholatum on babies, noting that it could cause serious health complications.
According to the paediatrician, applying mentolatum on the nose and mouth of babies to treat cough is particularly dangerous because it could cause serious life-threatening complications.
The paediatrician warned that some of the ingredients in mentholatum could be poisonous when mistakenly ingested by babies, noting that they could cause seizures and respiratory depression that may even result in fatality.
Dr. Boyede who is the founder of Ask The Paediatricians Foundation spoke in an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise.
The child health specialist said chest rubs do not have any proven benefit and do not make it easier to breathe.
According to her, camphor, menthol, or eucalyptus oil contained in a mentholatum makes the nasal passages more sensitive to cold air, hence making it seem as though the airways are clearing.
She, however, warned that if these ingredients are accidentally swallowed or ingested, they can make a child very sick.
She said, “We do not recommend the use of mentholatum in babies and this is because of the content of the product.
“I went to their website and looked at the ingredients that made up the products: Menthol BP 1.35% w/w, Camphor BP 9.00% w/w, Methyl Salicylate BP 0.33% w/w, Eucalyptus Oil, Pumilio Pine Oil, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow Soft Paraffin.
“The eucalyptus oil and camphor in mentholatum are potentially poisonous and could lead to fatal outcomes, especially if swallowed.
“This is why they should not be applied to the nose and mouth of babies, where the risk of being swallowed is high.”
“Camphor may cause significant and potentially life-threatening adverse effects in children. Most reported cases are with accidental oral ingestions; however, toxicity has also been reported with topical application in an infant.
“Mild toxicity may cause gastrointestinal effects such as nausea, vomiting, or burning sensation.
“However, severe effects such as restlessness, delirium, seizures, and fatal respiratory depression possibly leading to death can occur with doses as low as 500 mg,” the paediatrician warned.
This content was originally published here.