Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effects

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray and I was pretty positive about it. We’d all three of us used it on the early onset of a cold and it really had stopped it in its tracks, I was impressed. But today I want to share with you a bad reaction I had, which on further investigation seems quite common.

Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effects

This morning I woke up with a bit of a sniffle, so I reached for my bottle of Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray and used it according to the instructions. If you sniff when you spray it does burn and run down the back of your throat and is very unpleasant, so I’ve learned not to do that. Taking care not to sniff, I popped two squirts up each nostril whilst I was sat up straight and my head not tilted. I was almost instantly hit by the most incredible pain.

The pain was like a hot poker being pressed on the top of my head on the right side, then forced down through my skull and down my neck. Over the first few minutes it radiated through the right side of my skull and through my right ear. In an attempt to try to get some of the Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray out of my nose, I gave it a good blow, which may have helped I don’t know. Every tooth on the upper right side of my mouth hurt and I had to lie down in the dark for over three hours. I took painkillers and slept, I couldn’t physically have done anything else. This is what I imagine having a stroke feels like.

When I woke up later, the pain is less, but the top of my head is still throbbing and fizzing, I have earache and my eyes are aching. I feel rotten. As soon as I felt able, I propped myself up in bed and googled “Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray bad reaction” which brought me to the Amazon reviews for the product. I filtered them so I could read the (49 at the time of writing) 1 star reviews and almost every one of them complained of a similar reaction.

Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effectsImage above is a screenshot taken from Amazon.

The Vicks website gives a comprehensive list of the possible side effects, but it does not mention the searing intense pain that myself and other users have reported.

I’m sharing this information with you, not to stop you from using the product, because it has worked for me over and over in the last six months; but to say if this side effect happens to you, you know it’s not just you.

If you are worried, contact your GP. It’s just over four hours since I used the spray now and my head and neck are throbbing and achy. I took painkillers, I’ve drunk plenty of fluids, I lay down and rested as much as I could. It’s not as acute as it was but it feels like it had probably settled in for the day and many of the 1 star Amazon reviewers said the same.

It could be that I am just suddenly sensitive to the ingredients. But I have used it several times over the last six months with no ill effects. I wont be using Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray again, I’d rather have a cold than feel that pain again.

If you experience any bad side effects when using Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray or any other medicine, you can report your experiences to The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency here.

Note: This blog post does not constitute medical advice, I am just sharing my experience of this product.

7 responses to “Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effects

  1. alberttrotter

    Oh God..it should be banned around the world,,thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us all..

  2. I’ve just used it for the first time and had the exact same symptoms my head on one side hurts a lot

  3. Thank you very very much for sharing your experience. I’ve been using Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray for a couple of years now – it’s been wonderful – worked wonders every time I had the beginnings of a cold. BUT – today is a completely different story. I started using it yesterday as I felt the onset of a cold and it stung like crazy. I ignored it – thinking it was a one-off. When I used it again today (properly, no sniffing or inhaling, no head-tilting), it felt like I was spraying ACID into my nostrils. The searing, agonising pain was immediate – in the back of my eyes, sinuses, and, as silly as this may sound, it felt like my brain was being fried. It felt like there was an ice-pick through my left eye. It was so painful that I had to cover my head and lie in a dark room for 3 hours. The pain is less now, still lingering in my sinus area, and I feel unwell.
    My husband found your blog. Thank you for sharing – I’m glad I’m not alone. But how do we report this?

  4. I have been using this for some years, and found it very effective. Just once I had this reaction – many sprays ago. Thought it may have been because I hadn’t angled the nozzle as instructed and have been extra careful since then and have had no problems. I rather suspect that if you shoot the spray straight up your nose, it ends up in places that cause this pain – in my case it really felt as though it was in my sinus cavity which, knowing the pain of sinus infection, would certainly explain this.