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Vicks on Soles Calmed Cough

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Q. I've been battling a common cold this week. One night, in desperation, I coated the soles of my feet with Vicks and the cough subsided. I have no idea how that could work, but I don't care. I slept!

A. We are as mystified as you are about this remedy. A nurse told us a decade ago that putting Vicks VapoRub on the soles of her child's feet stopped a nighttime cough. Since then we have heard from scores of other readers that this is helpful. Anyone who tries this strategy should be sure to put on socks over the Vicks to protect the sheets.

We suspect that the menthol and thymol in Vicks are helpful. Menthol, after all, is found in many cough drops (approved by the FDA). Many readers attest that drinking a cup of thyme tea, made by steeping 1/2 teaspoon thyme in 6 ounces boiling water, can also ease a cough.

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  • Currently 4.3/5
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I had never heard of putting Vicks Vapor Rub on the soles of the feet for alleviating a cough,but my family always rubbed some on the chest, and when that was not enough also put a little dot of it on the rectum. That always worked.

I also have put Vick's Vaporub on the soles of feet to relieve symptoms of nighttime cough in various members of my family. It always works and I believe it works because, in reflexology, the pads of the toes and fatty tissue just below that represent the sinus/lungs in the body.

I must admit, being a former RN, I was skeptical about this, but when my son was barking a lot at night from a cold he had, I discussed this with my wife, since most cough and cold remedies are nothing more than sugar water, we gave the Vaporub a try, and to our amazement, it really worked!! Now its our first line of treatment at night, and it works every time.....Good luck Peoples Pharmacy readers!!

Has anyone tried it for daytime coughing? Just curious.

It does work! However it made me think about the oils, creams and lotion we rub on our bodies and how quickly those chemicals & etc are absorbed into the skin. I'm now lots more careful of what I put on my skin.

Has anyone successfully used Vicks Vaporub on the soles of feet to help with coughing during the day?

My mother used to rub VapoRub on my chest at bedtime to help with a cold, which seemed to help quite a bit.

Have applied Vick's remedy and socks and works everytime. My Mother would also rub Vick's on our chest and back at night when we were suffering from cough and heavy congestion. Within a couple of nights, the cough and congestion eased up considerably. Still use this as an adult.

I once worked for a pediatrician who explained the Vick's phenomenon like this: the menthol does the trick. You can put it under your nose or on the bedpost; it doesn't matter. However, he did caution that it was addictive and recommended using it only 3 days. He had a friend who used it on his upper lip every night for months, and when he quit, the skin under his nose peeled off and he went through terrible nasal stuffiness.

It also works on sinuses.

My Mom used this on us and I used it on my daughter and her kids. My mom told me she thought the greasy substance held in the heat of your body. It works for colds and croup.

Just tried this for the first time, and within a couple of minutes my cough began to calm.

I noticed on the UrbanLegends site that some doctor debunked it as nonsense. My guess is western allopaths simply dismiss "folk" remedies since there is no profit non-prescription pharmaceuticals.

Using it right now for the 1st time and already my cough has calmed down:) I'm super happy.

When I get coughs they're intense - I cough to the point of throwing up and throwing my upper back out, ending up in the hospital. I always leave with narcotics for my back, a muscle relaxant, cough medicine with codeine, sudafed, and motrin. The only thing ever to come of this combination of medications is a lot of crankiness and I fall asleep for a couple of hours, only to wake up coughing. My friend told me to try the vapor rub/socks treatment one night because I was tired of being crabby from the oxycodone.

Within 20 minutes of using the treatment I was asleep and didn't cough all night and didn't start until I was getting ready to go to work. I tried it again the next night with the same results. After a few nights my cough was mostly gone, aside from a bit of a mild tickly cough. It's amazing. I don't generally go for these types of remedies - I worked in the military medical field for years and am very mainstream medicine so I tried this out of desperation, fully expecting it not to work. I am still shocked but am a total believer.

I just looked up how to stop a child's cough and saw the vapour rub on feet. My son has non stop coughed, I tried steam, paracetemol, cough medicine 2day and nothing worked. So at 10pm I rubbed in vicks and put on his socks. Tucked him in. Popped to toilet and popped in 5 mins later and he was in a deep sleep and no coughing???? It worked!!!

I have a horrible sinus infection. I haven't slept in three days because of it. I remembered reading about putting Vicks on your feet so in a fit of desperation, I went and put it on my feet making sure to get the toes really well since in Reflexology the toes are connected to the sinuses. I have been blowing my nose every five minutes for three days. I have gone through three boxes of Kleenex and an entire roll of toilet paper that I resorted to when I ran out of Kleenex.

I already feel that my nose is less stuffy and I am not coughing near as much as I was. I am not blowing my nose every five minutes anymore either. Right now it is 10:20am. I will put this on my feet again this evening and hopefully finally get some sleep!

I didn't believe this would work but I was desperate for anything that might calm this wicked cough I've had for two days. I slept like a baby last night and didn't cough at all!

Now I'm wondering...has anyone tried this during the day? I have to work a nine hour shift and my cough is back and just as infuriating as it was yesterday.

I've had a horrible hacking up a lung cough for two days. I found this, it was about 4:30pm when I did it and I only coughed about 3 times through the night. much much better then I was before! so I would say during the day works well too!

Wow! I was skeptical when my sister suggested putting Vicks VapoRub on my feet with a pair of white socks to stop my cough. It worked just as fast as others have mentioned. I put it on before bedtime and when I woke coughing during night repeated the process. I slept until morning. I have also used it successfully during the day. Does anyone know why is it such a well hidden secret? You would think doctors would suggest this remedy. Is there information on how often this can be repeated and cautions that should be taken in doing this. I plan to pass this solution on to Mom & Dad of my great grandchildren.

We swear by this remedy! We are a family of science oriented, western medicine people. Out of desperation, I tried this when my daughter was young and sick with a terrible cough. Within 15 minutes, her cough was gone. We have now used it for years and it has never once failed to stop a cough in its tracks.

We have used it during the day many times as well, with equal success. The smell can be a bit much, but in an emergency, we use it!

We have used Vicks VapoRub all our Lives long, on our chest, feet back it has done great for All in our Family. I also use it on my Toenails to get rid off the fungus.

Amazing, it really does work! I had been kept awake for days because of constant coughing so decided to give this Vicks Vapour rub on the soles of the feet a go. I couldn't believe it, I didn't cough once during the night. Brilliant!

Our 4 year old brought us home a nice gift. A COLD! Myself and both kids have it. I used vicks on all of our feet after 3 days of coughing up our lungs and wow what a relief instantly! Our 4 month old sounded horrible just 10 mins ago and now he isn't making a peep.

I have had a non-stop cough for the last week or so, my throat is knackered & I'm now struggling to eat. I've been coughing until gagging &sometimes sick. I haven't slept for long the 2hours at a time in a week, &some nights only getting 4hours in total maximum as I've been waking up &constantly coughing.

A friend told me about rubbing vicks vapour rub on the bottom of my feet to help my cough &I read up about it, to see if it works.
I have applied the vapour rub onto my feet, &it's been out 15 minutes, & I'm not coughing half as much, &it's much less tickly!
I would recommend this to any friend that has an annoying horrible cough, as it actually works!!! So pleased!

I've had my cough for 12 days now. Docs keep saying its a viral infection & nothing they can do.
I'm about to try this as I've not slept properly for a week now.
The cough is constant day/night... Praying this works, will be sure to post the results in the morning!

Had blood clots in my lungs a couple of months ago. Ten days ago I got a nasty respiratory flu, and have been hacking up a lung for two solid nights! Due to the previous problem with my lungs, my breathing is greatly effected. I tried the vicks thingy on your feet out of sheer desperation tonight as I felt that if I coughed any more I was going to break a rib. Within about ten minutes or so I've stopped coughing. Only draw back is my feet are too warm!

Vicks can be wonderful, but do be aware of sensitive skin, especially on children, and more especially on their feet.

I just used on my six yr old son and I must say that I will be forever thankful for whoever found this remedy. We have been through so many cough syrups and humidifiers to no avail. Before I found this I prayed for him and 5min. later I found this and the vicks and within literally 5 min I heard and still hear nothing but snoring. To each his own but as for me and my family I will continue to use this. Thank you Peoples Pharmacy.

I tried this just last night & it did absolutely nothing for me. If anything, my cough was worse than not using it. And from the article I read, it said to "slather" the vicks on, so "slather" I did. My feet felt like they were on fire & the feeling of the Vicks between my toes was just not pleasant. So I will not be doing that ever again.

On the plus side, my feet are very soft!!

I had a persistent cough that was keeping me awake and my wife suggested I try putting Vicks on my feet. I tried it and it didn't work for me. I'm still coughing. Makes no sense. It's like telling someone to hose down their lawn to douse their house fire!

Had a cough for almost 8 weeks/ Could not stop! Was in the drs office every Friday AM for 4 Fridays. Nothing helped. Bactrim Amoxi ... Everything and anything I could try.. to no avail!
Son told me about the vapor rub and got almost instant relief. No coughing at all the first night. Hard to believe but IT WORKS!

My 3yr old daughter has coughed non stop for few days to the point she was sick. Came across this about vicks and socks. Put it on her feet 15 mins ago and now not a peep out of her (except snoring) I am truly amazed at this helpful way to suppress a cough........thankyou......thankyou......thankyou!!


When you say a 'dot'- how much is that?

I've used about half a tablespoon & I'm worried that it's too much.

Many thanks,


I tried it last night. It works, even with chronic asthma coughs!!!

A good friend told me to rub a thick layer of vicks on my feet... I thought she was nuts, but since sleep had eluded me for days I was willing to try just about anything. (I have allergies and asthma. This was the first time I had heard of putting it on my feet.) I am amazed!! I still have a cold, but I do not cough at night anymore. Which not only thrills me, but also thrills my husband.

I coated my daughters feet quite generously as that is what alot of people had said do and to put socks over and worked a dream.

My poor 6 year old son has asthma and is also dealing with some mean allergy symptoms at once. He has been absolutely miserable the past couple days. Had to come out of school early today because he was feeling so bad. I rubbed some vicks on his chest & neck, but it didn't seem to work that much. Then I used google to find out about the vicks on feet phenomenon, and I absolutely decided to try it. So far the coughing has subsided considerably, and I'm amazed.

He hasn't stopped coughing completely, but the coughs are fewer and more far between than they have been all day. Even with his prescription singulair, his claritin, his albuterol, and his tylenol combined we weren't able to shake that cough. But this vicks has worked wonders.

He's coughing once or twice every thirty minutes as opposed to coughing 25 times every thirty minutes. I am so grateful to have found this good advice. I will definitely be passing it on!

I'd struggled on and off with bronchitis for years, but thought I had staved it off with herbal remedies, since it hasn't recurred in a long time Well, this week, it was back with a vengeance, including sleepless nights, and no amount of herbal remedies, cough medicines or anything would stop it, so I found this solution on my feet. It helped the first night. It didn't stop the coughing but slowed it enough to sleep.

I tried it a 2nd night, and it was somewhat less effective and my feet were burning up this morning. Also the bottoms of the feet were red and very tender. Anybody else encountered this?

I just tried this vicks remedy about 10 minutes ago and my coughing has already stopped...I was coughing every 3-5 minutes for about 30 minutes straight and its amazing how something can work so quickly. Not even those over the counter medications work as well as vicks, soles and socks! Love it =]

I ran across this method on Pinterest. Our son has had a bad cold. Now the cough has settled in. He has been coughing for 2 days. Also coughing off and on most of the night allowing a lousy night of sleep for a teenager. ;( I decided to try it last night. I rubbed a generous amount of Vick's Vapor Rub on his feet like instructed and put a pair of socks on to keep the VVR off of the sheets. Not 5 mins. later he claimed to feel a tingling in his feet. Not 10 mins. later the cough attacks had calmed and less than a half hour we never heard another cough all night. He also slept soundly all night. I'm sold!

If this works in order to give him a good night of sleep it is WELL worth it. We'll be doing it again tonight if he is not any better and still coughing. Also I recommend using Dawn Dish Washing liquid in the morning to cut thru the ointment on the feet. My hands were soft after applying it to his feet and washing it off last night. ;) Don't knock it unless you've tried it.

My son has been coughing nonstop today and especially tonight. So I went online to see what remedies were out there. I came across the vicks vapor rub on the feet thing. My son has completely stopped coughing and is sound asleep. IT WORKED WITHIN 10-15 MINUTES

My 5 year old has had a cough for a few days now..I've been pulling my hair out wrecking my brain on feeling helpless for her.

I remembered long ago when my grandmother would put vapor rub on our feet.and then applied socks. So I decided to do the same for my daughter....and of course my grandmother never steered me wrong and now today it still works. She is finally asleep after about 15 minutes.

This really works! My husband has had a terrible cough the past week, and it's especially bad when he is trying to sleep. He has slept on the couch the past few nights because he didn't want to wake me up coughing all night.

He has tried taking all sorts of medicine to help. I had heard that putting Vicks on the bottom of your feet with socks will help ease coughing, so I decided to try it on him.

Within a couple minutes his cough was calming down. After about 15 minutes it stopped completely and he was sound asleep! I'm definitely going to do this from now on whenever one of us has a cough at night!

I too have coughing like you describe. I just tried this remedy yesterday and within five minutes my cough had calmed. I am so excited about this!!

My 4 year old son was always getting bad coughs and chest infections which made him have very restless nights. But after trying vapour rub on his feet at night he now hasn't had a bad cough or restless night for a long time.

I have had a really bad cough for 3 weeks in spite of two courses of strong antibiotics and steroids....I read Vick rubbed on baby's feet helps coughs.
this morning in desperation I rubbed Vick on the soles of my feet ELEVEN hours later not one cough. Unbelievable....I can hardly believe it.......what a miracle and before you say it NO it was not in my mind.......arrangements were being made for a CAT scan I was so ill.

After reading all the positive results, thought I'd give it a go last night after very little sleep through coughing the last few days.

Did make some difference but not as much as I'd hoped. Took about an hour to reduce coughing, and when I did cough the burning sensation was significantly reduced. Managed to get about 3 hours continuous sleep. But after that the cough was annoying as ever.
Did notice that if I turned over I needed to cough a bit as everything settled down again.
Not sure I would retry as my partner complained about the smell.

An added bonus, great for my cracked heels.

I was recommended to use Vic Vapour Rub on a toenail fungal infection I'd had for some weeks. It practically disappeared overnight!

Hi all I've just tryed the vick's rub on my husband feet and I was shocked how it worked. I can not believe it he's been coghing for the last 2 weeks and now he's stopped. Thank you sooo much for the advice I like to tell you all please try it it does work.

Hi everyone,
I as well am a RN and my 8 yr old has been suffering from terrible congestion the last 3 nights. I applied natural Menthol Rub to his chest, back and feet and within 30 mins he was sleeping like a lamb. I am a believer. Incredible. He was coughing terribly and could not expectorate this junk out of his lungs even after daily doses of children Mucinex. This is a definite " GO TO" home remedy! Taking him to MD in am. :)

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