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Smearing Vicks on the Soles of the Feet Soothes a Nasty Nighttime Cough

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Q. I have had a hacking cough for over a week. Consequently, I've had no sleep at all and had horrible pains in my chest and sides from the endless cough, cough, cough.

I had heard about putting Vicks on the soles of the feet but dismissed it as just an old wives' tale. However, last night at 1:30 am I was so sick of coughing that I thought, in for a penny, in for a pound. There'd be no harm trying.

I smeared the bottoms of my feet and put some socks on and lay down to wait. I just now woke up having slept straight through with not a single cough all night. A solid uninterrupted night's sleep makes me feel like a new person this morning.

A. Over a decade ago a nurse called our public radio show to report that putting Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet calmed her children's nighttime cough. She admitted that it sounded "wacko," but we tried it and shared it with others. Like you, many have reported success.

Other simple remedies can often be helpful against a cough, including thyme tea, chicken soup with sage, a spoonful of honey (for children over a year old) and even dark chocolate. We have included information about such approaches and a wide range of purposes that Vicks VapoRub may serve in our Guides to Colds, Coughs & the Flu and Unique Uses for Vicks. 

Those applying Vicks to the soles of the feet will find it helpful to put on a pair of warm socks afterwards. This protects the sheets from the greasy ointment and helps prevent slipping on the way to bed.

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Our family has used Vicks for years. About a year ago, I read that it now comes out in a cream base rather than the petroleum jelly base. That would eliminate the threat of stains to clothing each time we use Vicks. So we went on a search to all the major drug and department stores in our area and could not find Vicks with the cream base. Does anyone know where we can find this or was the information not correct? Thank you!

I too have tried the Vicks Vapo Rub cough remedy on the soles of my feet for a hacking cough. It works wonders and softens the feet as well, so you get an extra bonus. When I have told others about this they laugh until they have tried it and then thank me for the unusual remedy. Thank you for posting this again as the cold season is upon us.

Just looked at Amazon for Vicks VapoRub Cream and saw a listing for like 6 in a bundle, no reviews. Evidently exists or did exist. I'd probably stick with original at the cheaper price.
Had a cough last night, will get out my jar and try tonight. Doubt it will bother Santa.
Happy Holidays

There is a product called Vicks Baby Rub that is an ointment. It may be what you were told about. Try the baby section of the store.

I read about the Vicks on the bottoms of the feet on People's Pharmacy and it has worked for me. It has also relieved my lungs when they get congested with hay fever. My unbelieving husband caught a bad cold with a cough that could wake the dead, so he let me rub his feet with the Vicks. The next day his cough and congestion were completely relieved. He's now a believer!

Saw this idea in last Sunday's paper and gave it a try last night. Yes, it does work! My hubby is super happy because I've been keeping him up the last week with my hacking cough. I used cotton socks so the sheets wouldn't get stained. A definite keeper!

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