Pros: Portability, Ease of use, Effective for mild relief
Cons: Term steam is misleading, Need to all hot water frequently
After having suffered for several days with a stubborn cold and sinus infection, I decided that my over-the-counter multi-symptom medication was not doing enough to clear my nasal passages, and decided to purchase a vaporizer. I chose the Vick’s Portable Steam Therapy option due to the small size, portability, and low cost. I purchased his plastic 3-piece vaporizer with 5 scented pads at Wal-Mart for $8.00; a small price to pay for the convenience of having a portable vaporizer literally at your fingertips.
This product is easy to use, dishwasher safe, and made of sturdy plastic. Just fill to the water line with hot water, put in a steam/vapor pad, sit back and breathe in the soothing vapors, for immediate mild relief from clogged sinus passages. There are no batteries or plugs-in needed, just a supply of hot tap water nearby.
Vicks began with a retail drug company founded by Joshua Vick, who started marketing Vicks Family Remedies in the 1890’s. The flu epidemic of 1918 increased sales of VapoRub from $900,000 to $2.9 million in just one year. In 1985 the company was sold to Procter & Gamble. Vicks brands include NyQuil, DayQuil, Formula 44 cough medicines, and Vicks VapoRub, as well as, a number of breathing treatments.
The 3-piece plastic steamer consists of a base, mid-section, and nose piece with chin rest. After filling the base with hot (not boiling) tap water to the pre-marked line, just add a scented pad, and snap on the mid-section, and nose and chin rest piece. Vapors are released through a small pipe and funnel in the mid section piece. The steam/vapor pad will release a mild continuous flow of vapors for about 10-15 minutes, before it becomes necessary to add more hot water.
Refill steam/vapor pads can be purchased separately for about $4.00 for a box of six. I also found that I could use one steam pad for 2 days, (the box says 8 hours) without needing to replace it.
There are some definite pros and cons with the use of this product. First of all, the use of the word steamer in the product name is a bit misleading. I found that the mild flow of vapors released through the small pipe in the mid section, were not quite enough to give me the deep soothing relief I needed. As a result, I removed the nose piece and chin rest and placed my nose directly into the flow of vapor, using the nose piece to cup and trap the vapors, with a much better result. However, the label on the scented pad warns against keeping vapors out of the eyes, so it is best to keep your eyes closed, if you choose this option. I also found the need to continuously add hot water about every 10-15 minutes somewhat irritating.
On the plus side, this light-weight hand-held device is completely portable, and can easily be used at home or work, with very little disruption. It does provide mild immediate relief from clogged nasal passages, making breathing easier, and promoting sinus draining with repeated use.
Although using the term steam in the name of this product is a bit misleading, I found the mild vapors emitted by the scented pad to be quite soothing, and did notice some improvement in my sinus congestion with repeated use. Although I had to modify the way in which I used this product, with the minor modification noted above, it worked quite well.
Despite the drawbacks of having to add more hot water every 10-15 minutes, and unsnapping the nose piece to obtain a greater effect, I found the Vicks Steam Therapy vaporizer to be fairly effective in soothing my clogged sinuses and promoting drainage. The portability and ease of use and cleaning are also positive factors. Overall, I consider the Vicks Steam Therapy vaporizer a pretty good investment for the price. While there are certainly more effective vaporizers on the market, this one works pretty well for those looking for a portable vaporizer/inhaler to provide mild, temporary relief from sinus congestion.