What Does Putting Vicks on Feet Do?

Written by cindi pearce
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News circulated that putting Vicks VapoRub on a child's feet will give the child relief from a cough. Many parents attest that this technique works well and almost immediately.

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If you are an adult who is in the throes of a bad cough and cold, putting Vicks on your feet may give you some relief. The most active ingredient in Vicks is menthol. Menthol may dilate the blood vessels in the feet when applied, which works to calm a cough.


Dr. Bruce Rubin, professor and vice chair of paediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, via Parenting.com explains that the menthol vapours that emanate from Vicks VapoRub may actually trick the body into thinking it is breathing easier.

Small Children

Dr. Rubin said Vicks should never be used on children who are younger than two, and it should never be placed directly under the nose because the menthol vapours can actually trigger the cold receptors that are in the nose. Some doctors discourage the general use of Vicks, whether it's put on the feet or elsewhere, on children under the age of two years old.

Product Safety

<p>Medheadlines.com reports that David Bemens of Proctor & Gamble, the company that produces Vicks VapoRub, maintains that the product is safe when used as directed. Bemens said there is no established link between the use of this product and respiratory distress.


Vick's contains camphor, which can be highly toxic to children, according to Consumeraffairs.com.

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