Here’s The Truth Behind That VapoRub Story Spreading On Social Media

If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you may have seen a story with this headline: “Mom applies a remedy to her baby, moments later he dies. Be careful with this, moms!” The story claims that a two-year-old Mexican child died after the child’s mother applied too much Vicks VapoRub.

The story first appeared around mid-November and quickly spread on Facebook, with parents warning their friends about the dangers of VapoRub.

However, all evidence indicates that the story did not actually happen. Here’s why: No major news organization has actually reported on it.


The only websites covering “VapoGate” engage in tabloid style reporting, using junk science to back up the claims of their sensational headlines. The image above is from one of the websites reporting on the Vicks VapoRub death. As you can see, they have another story about how Vicks VapoRub can be used to get rid of cellulite. If it did, you can bet Vicks would have cashed in on that claim already.

The baby in the story’s photo is a stock image.


Like many fake news stories, the image provided for the story is supposed to add credibility to the headline. However, the image of this child is actually a stock photo that anyone can use for their own story.

Need more proof? The image has been used before in other stories.


As you can see, the image has been used in stories about how to get a baby to sleep through the night. There is no mention of Vicks.

Most of the websites covering this story just copied and pasted the words from another source.


A Google search revealed that many of the websites reporting on this story just copied and pasted the bulk of it from whatever source they found. The story doesn’t offer any fact based details, including the woman’s name, referring to her as the “Mexican mother.” The lack of fact checking should be a tip off. Not to mention that the most reliable reporting on this story came from Snopes, the debunking website, which says they found NO PROOF that the story actually occurred at all.

Vicks VapoRub does have side effects that parents should know about.

Like any over-the-counter drug, VapoRub must be used correctly, otherwise problems could occur. VapoRub has been shown to increase mucus production, in ferrets. Eating VapoRub can lead to serious health problems, and it should not be placed on broken skin because the body can absorb toxic levels of camphor. Adult VapoRub should not be applied to babies under 2 years of age, but there is an unmedicated version specially made for babies. Most important, always be sure to follow directions when using medication.

One thing we can agree on: if you’re sick and need a cure, you can always depend on your abuela.

Every abuelitas nightmare.

Posted by We are mitú on Friday, November 18, 2016

READ: If Vicks VapoRub Could Talk To Us, Here’s What It Would Say

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