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  • Brindley Brooks

Vicks VapoRub for HS Abscesses

Many have found Vicks VapoRub to be helpful in the treatment of HS abscesses. Please keep in mind that treatments that work for you may not work for others.

To use Vicks for abscesses apply a thin layer on or around a closed abscess; this can be raised abscesses or abscesses under the skin. Then cover with a dressing or gauze.

If you have an open abscess or wound you can put it on the surrounding areas, however,


Vicks VapoRub can be beneficial when it comes to HS flares, but remember, this is not what Vicks is intended for.

Do not use Vicks excessively. Vicks contains camphor and menthol, too much of which can be toxic. Camphor or Menthol can build up over time and can also enter the bloodstream through open cuts, sores, or mucous membranes, so avoid use on those areas. The lipids in the petroleum jelly can build up to dangerous levels and eventually can cause an uncommon, but life-threatening, condition known as lipoid pneumonia.

Many of the drawing salve products out there (with the exception of a few) include menthol/camphor; please do your research.

Toxic symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Anxiety, agitation, excitation, hallucinations

  • Burning of the mouth or the throat

  • Tremors, twitching facial muscles, seizures

  • Excessive thirst

  • Muscle spasms or rigid muscles

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Rapid pulse

  • Skin irritation

  • Slow breathing

  • Sleepiness

  • Unconsciousness

If you develop any of these symptoms please call Poison Control. Your local poison center can be reached by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222).

If you suspect any unusual symptoms especially from the list above and you have been using Vicks excessively, for a long period of time, or on broken/open skin. Please discontinue and see if your symptoms improve.

Below are the ingredients in Vicks Vapor Rub:

Active Ingredients: Camphor (Synthetic) 4.8% (Cough Suppressant & Topical Analgesic), Eucalyptus Oil 1.2% (Cough Suppressant), Menthol 2.6% (Cough Suppressant & Topical Analgesic) Inactive Ingredients: Cedarleaf Oil, Nutmeg Oil, Petrolatum, Thymol, Turpentine Oil

Content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment because of something you have read on this website.

Written by Denise Panter-Fixsen

Edited by Brindley Kons


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