Q. I have heard for years that when your child has a cough, you should put Vicks on his feet. I thought that was ridiculous. On his chest, yes, but feet? So I hadn’t done that. My son coughs until he starts to vomit whenever he gets even the slightest cold. He’s seven years old and has a nasty virus right now, as do I.
I decided to try Vicks on his chest. I didn’t remember it working that well when I was a kid, so I hadn’t tried it before. My husband said to put it on his feet. Still thinking it was silly, I put it on his feet but not mine. He slept all night with no coughing. I know because I would have heard him; I was awake most of the night coughing.
A. Camphor, eucalyptol and menthol, all found in Vicks, are approved OTC cough medicine ingredients. Why applying this ointment to the soles of the feet could quell a cough remains a mystery. It is certainly worth a try for a child, however, since most cough syrups don’t work very well in kids.
There is more information about the strange and wonderful ways people have applied this venerable remedy in our Guide to Unique Uses for Vicks.