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Uses for Vicks Vapor Rub

Updated April 17, 2017

Vicks Vapor Rub, a salve, tonic and liniment since 1890, can be found in medicine cabinets worldwide. Vicks Vapor Rub may relieve the symptoms of colds, fever, chest congestion, head and muscle aches, as well as act as a tick and splinter removal agent. However, Vicks' antifungal and tick-removal properties require additional research to verify their efficacy.

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Cough and congestion

The ingredients in Vicks Vapor Rub include camphor, eucalyptus, menthol, cedar leaf and nutmeg oil. These ingredients can clear nasal passageways, dilate blood vessels, penetrate muscle fibres and reduce pain symptoms. Varieties of over-the-counter medications contain only one or two of these ingredients and as a result are only effective for a symptom or two. Vicks suggests that the inactive ingredients in their ointment are as effective as the active ingredients, an uncommon claim.

Tick and splinter removal

HealthCentral.com has user reviews that praise the value of Vicks Vapor Rub for removing splinters from the skin. One review indicated that Vicks removed a tick caught under the skin, noting that ointment applied to the tick made for easy removal of the entire body and that the extraction did not result in redness or inflammation. Vicks Vapor Rub and HealthCentral.com note that there is no research to verify the efficacy of Vicks products for splinter or tick removal.

Toenail fungus

The Vicks website advises that there are no studies supporting the use of Vicks products for nail fungus relief. Anecdotal consumer reviews, however, do note success for this unconventional use of Vicks Vapor Rub. CureNailFungus.com recommends Vicks Vapor Rub for nail fungus treatment, noting that the patient should notify his doctor prior to use. The website also states that it is unclear how Vicks aids in removing the fungus.

Muscle aches

The Vicks website recommends Vicks Vapor Topical Ointment and Topical Cream for short-term relief of muscle and joint aches associated with flu and cold symptoms. However, the website notes that its topical ointment and cream appear to be successful for muscle and joint aches even without flu or cold symptoms.

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About the Author

Suann Schuster has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. She served as an item writer for McGraw-Hill Education and a curriculum author. Schuster now provides content for Science and Massage Therapy texts for McGraw-Hill, as well as for test banks. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Sedona.

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