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Petroleum jelly: Safe for a dry nose?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/petroleum-jelly/AN00947
- With Mayo Clinic dermatologist
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.read biographyclose window
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
Dr. Lawrence Gibson likens bad health information on the Internet to food poisoning.
Consumers, he says, need to be aware and will find reliable information at MayoClinic.com.
Dr. Gibson, a Covington, Ky., native, has been with Mayo Clinic since 1986 and is board certified in dermatology, dermatopathology and immunodermatology. He is a professor of dermatology at Mayo Medical School and a consultant in the Department of Dermatology.
Dr. Gibson has served as the fellowship director for dermatopathology and as chair of the Laboratory Division in the Department of Dermatology. He is especially interested in inflammatory disorders of the skin, including vasculitis, and in lymphoma affecting the skin.
"Electronic information has become a staple in the diet of a health conscious society," he says. "It's important to avoid misinformation and provide a credible source for health information. Using this analogy, it's critical to avoid 'indigestion' or, worse yet, 'food poisoning' by the ingestion of tainted information."
Petroleum jelly: Safe for a dry nose?
I've put petroleum jelly on the inside of my nose for years to relieve dryness. Is this safe?
from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
Petroleum jelly is generally safe to use. Rarely, however, inhaling fat-based substances (lipoids) — such as petroleum jelly or mineral oil — for prolonged periods can cause lung problems.
Typically, petroleum jelly applied to the inside of the nostrils drains down the back of the nose with normal nasal secretions and is swallowed. Rarely, small amounts of the jelly can migrate into the windpipe (trachea) and lungs. Over many months, the jelly can accumulate in the lungs — leading to potentially serious inflammation known as lipoid pneumonia.
In some people, lipoid pneumonia causes no signs or symptoms. In others, lipoid pneumonia may cause cough, chest pain or shortness of breath.
Lipoid pneumonia is often detected on a chest X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan. Sometimes, the diagnosis is confirmed with a bronchoscopy.
When lipoid pneumonia is caused by petroleum jelly, generally the only treatment is to stop using the petroleum jelly. To relieve nasal dryness without petroleum jelly, use a vaporizer or humidifier or try over-the-counter saline nasal spray. If you must use a lubricant, choose the water-soluble variety. Use it only sparingly, and not within several hours of lying down.
- Sharma A, et al. Idiopathic endogenous lipoid pneumonia. The Indian Journal of Chest Diseases and Allied Sciences. 2006;48:143.
- Simmons A, et al. Not your typical pneumonia: A case of exogenous lipoid pneumonia. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2007;22:1613.