A frugal grandmother has found good company on Twitter, where many users say they feel just as comfortable as she does using a decades-old jar of Vicks VapoRub on their bodies, despite an expiration date that lapsed before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Wrote mom Heather Chacon on Sunday: “My son has been sick (not Covid) and shout out to my mom, who loaned us the SAME pot of Vicks she used to use on me growing up.”
“Expiration date 1-87,” Chacon added.
Her innocuous tweet has since been met with more than 155,000 likes and 13,000 retweets. Many commenters have shared their own ridiculously old tubs of Vicks — and a few other disturbing finds.
“My vintage jar of Vicks: glass jar, painted metal lid, no expiration date anywhere,” noted one follower, whose jar dates back to a time before expiration dates were required by the Food and Drug Administration. “ ’VAP O RUB 63′ molded into underside.”
“Originally mom’s, it lurks in the corner of the medicine cabinet. I’m a little afraid to open it, like a VapoGenie might escape before I need it someday,” the user joked.
“I’ve got you beat!” another added. “Just found this in my mom’s closet and it’s my grandma’s writing on there. November 1965. I was congested the other day, put some under my nose, and work just fine! This stuff is immortal!”
Even the reported global chief medical officer of health care company Babylon — who presumably has all the access in the world to high-quality medical care — quipped that his mother insisted her more-than-40-year-old VapoRub is good to go.
“My mom sent along a jar from ‘82 and calls to check I used the right technique (tbsp into boiled H2O, inhaled over 20m via putting a towel over my head over the pot),” wrote Darshak Sanghavi. “BTW I’m the … [former] CMO at UnitedHealthcare. She don’t care,” he emphasized.
One person had to point out the absurdity of it all: “We live in a world where a Vicks from the attic still works, but you have a pile of expired iPads in your bottom drawer.”
It’s not just Vicks that seems to linger in Americans’ drug cabinets. Followers shared evidence of several other now-questionable remedies, such as a well-worn bottle of Caladryl and — a potential danger — Paregoric, an opium-based tincture. While technically legal and prescribed, the medicine has since been supplanted by drugs that can do the job without the risks that come with morphine.
“I cleaned out my uncle’s house this year and found a vintage bottle of PAREGORIC,” added one follower to the thread. According to the label, “Each 100cc contains 40 mg anhydrous morphine. Child 1 month old, 5 drops. 1 yr old, 10 drops. 5 yrs old, 20 drops. Adults, 1 tsp 1-3x a day. May be habit forming,” the tweet reads.
Procter & Gamble, maker of Vicks products, replied to the original poster on Monday morning with a warning in the thread.
“Heather, we’re sorry your son is sick, and hope he’s feeling better soon. The safety of your family is very important to us, and while we appreciate your mom’s confidence in VapoRub, we recommend that you don’t use an expired product. Please send us a DM with any questions,” the company rep implored.
The Post has reached out to experts who may be able to account for Vicks’ seemingly prolonged shelf life.
Despite Procter & Gamble’s response, Chacon later confirmed that the remedy worked: “Vintage Vicks for the win,” she concluded.