After abdominal surgery, coughing or laughing can cause excruciating pain. Although few people can laugh in such a situation, many will need to cough. How can you calm a cough to avoid the pain?
Putting Vicks VapoRub on the Feet to Calm a Cough:
Q. I was in the hospital for three weeks following major surgery for colon cancer. Needless to say, it was very painful to cough!
I had my husband bring Vicks VapoRub from home and asked the nurses to put it on the soles of my feet as a cough suppressant. They witnessed first-hand how well it worked to calm a cough. They said they couldn’t wait to try it on their kids.
A. Smearing Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet strikes many people as an improbable cough remedy. We have seen it work, however.
How Does Vicks Work?
Menthol, which is one of the ingredients in Vicks, is found in most cough lozenges. It inhibits coughing by stimulating specialized nerve endings found in the skin as well as the mouth and throat (Ebihara et al, Current Pharmaceutical Design, vol. 22, No. 15, 2016). It works through the transient receptor potential, TRPM8. This TRP channel also senses cold (Janssens et al, Elife, July 23, 2016). Such action on the TRP channels may explain how Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet calms a cough.