Some people rub Vicks or vapor rub on their feet as a way of curbing coughs. After applying the vapor rub, one is required to wear socks to cover their feet. According to people who use this technique, the application of Vicks on feet can stop coughing for several hours. According to other people, this technique is only a myth to them since it just doesn’t work at all. However, this process actually works for children. Does rubbing Vicks on feet really work for coughing? What’s the theory behind?
Successful Experiences of Using Vicks on Feet for Coughing
According to Fia’s mom, applying Vicks on her daughter’s feet actually helps in fighting coughs. A few months ago, the daughter developed a chronic cough. The pediatrician could not do anything much since the lungs were fine and according to them, it was just a cold that would go away in a few days. The mother filled paperwork to book an appointment with a children pulmonary specialist, but something happened in between waiting period and appointment day. A friend told Fia’s mom to try rubbing Vicks vapor rub on the feet.
After rubbing Vicks vapor rub on Fia’s feet for a week, the coughing stopped. This is one of the successful cases showing that rubbing Vicks on feet can stop coughs.
According to several adults, rubbing Vicks on the bottom of your feet can stop coughs. Most of the time, cough syrups can fail to work, making it necessary to seek alternative methods of treating the cough.
The son couldn’t sleep because of fever, after trying to rub Vicks on his chest and back, the cough was still there. However, after the mom applied Vicks on the feet, the cough completely subsides. This method works almost instantly.
How does Rubbing Vicks on Feet Aid in Getting Rid of Coughs?
There are numerous viral messages claiming that rubbing Vicks on feet can help in elevating coughs. Even with the numerous proofs, there is still no scientific confirmation on this method of stopping colds. There is also no medical explanation as to why applying Vicks on feet for getting rid of coughs works. According to pediatricians, the possible explanation could be because the child can inhale the Vicks even when it is applied on the feet, and this is why this method is said to work. Another explanation could be because the menthol in the vapor rub dilates the blood vessels in the feet causing reflexes that soothe the cough.
The Theory of Counter Irritation
According to this theory, internal morbid processes can be relieved of any external irritation so created. Vicks vapor rub contains menthol, eucalyptus and camphor which stimulate blood flow to the skin causing counter irritation.
Clearly, there is no clear indication why rubbing Vicks on the feet works. Actually, folk medicines worked in similar ways. Applying poultices and liniments which contain mild irritants like garlic and mustard to the soles of the feet and the chest can relive cough and colds. The method has been used for hundreds of years.
Vicks vapor rub is harmless when used as directed. However, sometimes using Vicks on feet can have negative effects. It can cause foot rash (juvenile plantar dermatosis) or athlete’s foot. The rash is common in children with sweaty feet or those that wear the same pair of socks several times without washing.