It seems that I been chronically sick since coming to college. I was telling my mom my symptoms and she mentioned putting Vicks vapor rub on my feet with socks over them. I was shocked and grossed out, but curious to see if it would actually work. As far as I know, for that one night I did not cough as much. This could’ve been due to chance or actually a direct correlation. So, I wanted to look into this and see if there’s evidence.
In an article I read, it talks about the fact that some people swear by this method, however this article explains that this method has no supporting scientific evidence. Vicks rub contains menthol, which tricks the brain into thinking that airways are clear. This makes you feel less congested. Because of this, Vicks is typically rubbed onto the chest so that it is a close enough distance to your nose in order to be inhaled. Rubbing it on your feet does not allow the menthol to be inhaled because of the distance from your airways. However, as previously stated, some swear that rubbing it on your feet as well helps the common cough.
If I were to do a trial I would do a randomized double blind trial where I had:
Group 1: No Vicks on feet or chest for 8 hours sleep
Group 2: Vicks only on chest for 8 hour sleep
Group 3: Vicks only on feet for 8 hour sleep
All involved would need to be sick with the same cold or bronchitis, because this affects the chest congestion. Then, I would see who had the most improvement with less coughing and less congestion.