Can you rub Vicks Vapo's foot when coughing?


You may have heard that applying Vicks VapoRub (camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol) to your child's legs or feet will help with a cough . However, there is still no evidence that this is effective.

VapoRub has been available for many years. However, it is important to know that this product is not entirely safe for children.

This article will discuss the practice of using Vicks VapoRub on your feet as a cough suppressant. It will also address some of the dangers of using this product in ways not recommended by the manufacturer.

How Vicks VapoRub works

VapoRub is a type of aromatherapy . Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic oils and other compounds as an alternative or complementary therapy.

When you're overwhelmed , applying VapoRub to your chest can help you feel like your breathing has improved. It does this by releasing menthol vapor, which cools in the nasal passages. This makes your brain think it can breathe better.

However, VapoRub does not really help relieve a stuffy nose or cough. Your brain just believes it.

Get Medication Information / Tim Liedtke

Knowing this, it is obvious that applying Vicks VapoRub on your feet will not help you. The product is too far from the nose, so it will not benefit from aromatherapy.

Using Vicks VapoRub on your feet

No scientific study has investigated whether Vicks VapoRub relieves coughing in the legs. Without this type of research, it is impossible to know if a drug is working.

A popular theory that you may have seen on the internet is that VapoRub can stimulate the nerves in the legs. According to the theory, this stimulation is transmitted through the spinal cord to the medulla oblongata . The brainstem is the part of your brain that regulates coughing.

Some have compared this idea to the theory of muscle spasms . Some scientists believe that overactive nerves can cause at least one type of muscle spasm.

Several studies have shown that drinks made with strong spices can be beneficial for these types of cramps. Spices like cinnamon and capsaicin , which make up hot peppers, can distract the nerves that cause these spasms.

According to the theory, VapoRub can have a similar effect on the nervous system. This effect, if any, would be separate from the VapoRub aromatherapy effect. Therefore, it can help with coughing even when applied far from the nose.

However, it is important to remember that a plausible idea is not the same as a proven scientific theory. Scientific theories are analyzed before being confirmed. Many plausible-sounding theories have turned out to be false as a result of research.


There have been no scientific studies on the effectiveness of VapoRub when used on the feet. Without this research, it is impossible to know if this works or not.

Cautious use of Vicks VapoRub

Vicks VapoRub is a non-prescription product that has been used for a long time. The risks may appear to be minimal. But there are some serious caveats about this product to be aware of.

  • Contains a poisonous ingredient: Vicks VapoRub is composed of camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol. Camphor is poisonous if ingested. It can cause seizures, coma, or death. This is true even for small amounts. It can also be harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
  • Not for young children – Vicks VapoRub packaging clearly states that it should not be used by children under 2 years of age. This is valid for any part of the body. Many people ignore this warning.
  • It should not be placed under the nose: in adults and children over 2 years of age, the product should only be applied to the chest.


There is no evidence that using Vicks VapoRub on the feet helps relieve coughing. This product may appear to be helping because the menthol vapors make you feel like you are breathing easier.

VapoRub is not safe for children under 2 years of age. Contains camphor which is poisonous if ingested. This product should only be used on the chest and only by adults and children over 2 years of age.

Get the word of drug information

Vicks VapoRub is a popular product with some valid uses. However, some people use the product in an unconfirmed way and they carry serious risks.

If you are concerned about a cough or a stuffy nose, talk to your doctor about the best ways to relieve your symptoms. Never skip other treatments in favor of this product alone.

Frequently asked questions

  • Some argue that this is the case, but there is no evidence. Animal studies have shown that one of the main ingredients in Vicks, menthol, stimulates hair growth, but the mix of ingredients in Vicks may not have the same benefits.

  • Swallowing a mild aftertaste is probably not harmful to children or adults, but the camphor in Vix is toxic and can cause vomiting, seizures, shortness of breath, coma, or even death, depending on how much is consumed.

  • Vicks rubbed on the chests of children with cold symptoms can improve the quality of their sleep. However, there is no evidence that rubbing your feet (healthy or diseased) helps ensure a good night's rest.

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