Q. My three-year-old son continues to have problems with ear infections, even though he got ear tubes when he was eight months old. He now has another infection with chest congestion and a cough.
I was looking for home remedies for coughs when I found your website. I read about putting Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet. Within ten minutes of applying it, he was asleep without a cough. Thanks!
A. We can’t explain how smearing Vicks on the soles of the feet could take away a cough, but many others have told us it works. Be sure to put socks on him to protect the sheets.
Other readers have also tried this remedy. DS said: “It works for me and it works for my small grandson but I cannot get his uncle to try it. I am going to forward this web posting to show him that it’s worth trying. I don’t use the socks all the time and don’t use large amounts of Vicks. I just sit up in bed and apply a small amount on my feet.”
MS offered this opinion: “Vicks Menthol Rub has been around since the early 20th century. My family in Latin America has been benefiting from this simple home remedy since it hit the markets.
“Our scientific based reasoning in the U.S. propels us to call this remedy wacky. Why? Are there randomized controlled trials disproving Vick’s relief? Not to my knowledge. There is however, a multi-million dollar industry supporting the use of syrups, new and improved gel caps. These innovative agents with marginal results merely accompany the life cycle of the common cold.”
MS is correct that the syrups and cold remedies parents could buy in the drugstore don’t work very well for children and may in fact pose risks. We have included this and many other home remedies for both kids and adults with coughs or colds in our Guide to Colds, Coughs and the Flu.