Product Type: Vicks medicinal products
Newest Review: ... creates painful tingling in my nostrils and throat which I thought must be something to do with inflammation and the product coming into co... more
The end of the cold war?
Vicks First Defence
Member Name: bollinger28
Vicks First Defence
Date: 15/02/07, updated on 02/08/13 (8070 review reads)
Advantages: Quick and easy to use. Reduces severity of cold like symptoms and shortens suffering timescale.
Disadvantages: Expensive. Tastes revolting. Difficult to tell whether this product really does combat infection.
** What is Vicks First Defence? **
Vicks First Defence is a micro gel nasal spray, which contains natural plant extracts (i.e. no drugs), and is designed to work in harmony with your body's natural defence mechanisms. I'm not going to list all the ingredients, but on having a look at the instructions the product comes with, the ingredients contain well-known things such as zinc, menthol, camphor and eucalyptus, all of which have proven qualities in either boosting your immune system or helping combat infection. The gel is squirted into the back of your nasal passage, which is where a cold virus first tries to take root in your body. The idea is that the gel sits in your nasal passage and creates such a nasty atmosphere/hostile environment that the cold virus decides it's not welcome, and goes away. To put it more technically, the gel works alongside your body's natural defence mechanisms, and helps it flush out the virus. It evidently works in three main ways. Firstly, the gel encourages you to produce mucus, which is how we naturally flush out a virus. Secondly, the gel introduces a low pH value into the nasal area and viruses tend to thrive in a higher one. Thirdly, the gel coats the virus in micro spray so it cannot multiple, nor travel so quickly and easily to the rest of your body.
** Cost and Availability **
It's quite difficult to avoid the huge displays of this product in any pharmacy or chemist at the moment. Added to that, Vicks had that rather annoying advert on our TV screens...you know, the one with the mother throwing the tantrum in the supermarket in impersonation of her son. Despite the dreadful "shoutiness" of that advert, it didn't quite put me off buying this product, though it did come pretty close....
Like most cold and flu products, it's expensive. One small bottle will set you back at least £6.49 (Superdrug) to £6.99 (Boots). Vicks recommend that bottles should never be shared amongst the same people (as it may spread the infection), so that's quite an expensive investment if you have a large family. However, I reckon that it's a small price to pay if it stops a cold in its tracks, and thereby saves the additional costs of Lemsips, Beechams or Night Nurse, all of which, at the end of the day, are very over-priced paracetomal or aspirins with a flu/cold theme...
** So how do you use it? **
Vicks First Defence is best and most effectively used within 24-36 hours of a virus first lurking in your vicinity. If you start to get those warning signals of a sore throat or one sneeze too many, it's time to reach for your bottle of Vicks First Defence. They also advise that it's best to carry on using the spray until at least two days after the symptoms have subsided.
The gel comes in a small bottle with a pump dispenser to the top, which is inserted into your nostril. It's not a delicate process, so it's best done alone in a room or only with someone you know really well! You are advised to depress the nozzle into each nostril approximately 2 or 3 times. It may take a bit of effort to get the gel flowing at first. Vicks advise that you do not tilt your head at all, but aim the nozzle up your nostril in the direction of your ear. You must only squirt this stuff up your nose a maximum of four times in any 24 hour period.
I warn you now, it's really not a pleasant sensation, and the taste is revolting. It can sting a bit in your nostrils, and it tends to run back down your nose within seconds. It's perfectly normal to expect a little bit of initial smarting in your nostrils, and you will have an increase in nasal discharge, as the gel is interacting with any mucus present in your nostrils and flushing it out. It can make you sneeze sometimes too - but that's good too, as that's expelling all the nasty mucus. It can also make your eyes water a bit, so best to have a tissue to hand. When you swallow, the taste is rather unpleasant, sort of mildewy and old is the best way to describe it. I expected it to taste sort of medicinal but it really doesn't....it's really quite horrible...sort of how you would imagine a six week old dead badger would taste...if you'd ever partaken (which I haven't...). However, the taste and sensation really doesn't last all that long, so please don't let my description put you off.
Vicks advise that to obtain optimum results, you should continue to use the product for at least two days after symptoms subside. However, if your cold like symptoms are still in evidence after seven days, then it really isn't working for you. Similarly, if you start to experience nose bleeds or your nostrils become sore or inflamed, you must stop using this product immediately.
** So....does it work? **
The 24 thousand dollar question...does it work? Well it certainly seemed to stop my tickly sore throat symptoms turning into anything nastier. The rest of my office are still coughing and sneezing and, strangely, I have managed to remain in a germ-free zone. I really couldn't honestly say whether this is down to First Defence though. It could be that I was not susceptible to that particular virus. Similarly, maybe my relatively healthy diet of lots of garlic, vitamins, fruit and vegetables worked in my favour this time around.
My partner, who did go down with a cold, found that his symptoms were a lot milder and his cold cleared up faster as a result of using First Defence at the onset of his symptoms. So perhaps there is something to be said for the gel managing to persuade that nasty old mucus into an early retreat after all.
On the whole I'd definitely recommend this product. Yes, it's pricey, but if it manages to stop a cold in its tracks or reduces the severity of its symptoms, then you're quids in by not having to buy all those so-called cold remedies and cough mixtures. The expiry date on this product is a good few years hence, so it should see me through a couple more winters at least.
** Further Details **
I can't say that I experienced any particular side effects from using First Defence. It did make my nose bleed a little bit, but that soon cleared up once I stopped using it. The worst feature of this product, is the truly appalling taste to it.
However, do please note that this product should be avoided if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Similarly, if you are prone to nose bleeds or have ear, nose or throat sensitivities, then it's best not to use First Defence. It's also not really suitable for children under the age of 12.
** Prices and Complimentary Products **
~ First Defence Nasal Spray ~
15ml = £6.49 (Superdrug) to £6.99 (Boots)
~ First Defence anti-bacterial hand wash ~
50ml = £3.99 (roughly 125 goes)
150ml = £6.99 (roughly 375 goes)
~ Dual Defence Kits ~
150ml hand wash plus Vicks First Defence = £11.99
50ml hand wash plus Vicks First Defence = £9.99
** My top five tips for avoiding a cold this winter **
To save anyone having to buy this stuff in the first place, the following are some tips on remaining a germ free zone in the winter period:-
 Keep away from crowded, enclosed or stuffy places, and try not to share cups, glasses, cutlery and plates where possible. Lots of fresh air and open windows are the order of the day.
 Avoid anyone who is coughing or sneezing (obviously), but if you do come into contact, try and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth without washing your hands thoroughly first.
 Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly for at least 20 seconds every time with anti-bacterial hand wash, if you've got it. If not, normal soap will do. It's the 20 seconds that's the important bit.
 Drink plenty of fluids, as that will support and boost your immune system.
 Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, as those packed with natural minerals and vitamins can really help fight any infection. For example, fruits rich in Vitamin C are a known aid in combating infection. Similarly, vitamins A & E, zinc, echinacea and garlic are good for boosting your immune system. Check out the aisles at Boots or your local Holland and Barrett for some further advice.
** Further Details**
Procter and Gamble consumer product enquiries:-
P & G UK
PO Box 420
Newcastle upon Tyne
Telephone: 0800 169 3140 (UK) or 1800 509 529 (Ireland)
Summary: Micro gel nasal formula for treating initial symptoms of colds/flu