The Best Way to Stop a Child’s Cough Without Cough Syrup.

kid feet


Since my son starting attending the petri dish that is preschool, he has come home about every three weeks with a new variation of the common cold.  He started preschool at three and a half  years old, which is under the pediatrician recommended age for cough syrup.  Though he is now four, dosing him with cough syrup still makes me nervous.

One night my son was coughing so deeply and often that nobody in the house was getting any sleep.  My husband read somewhere about an urban legend that Vicks Vapor Rub, when slathered on the bottom of one’s feet and covered with socks can suppress a cough.  In our desperate sleepiness we tried it…

Damn if it wasn’t some kind of Eucalyptus miracle.

It worked the next night too.

Now whenever he gets a tough cough that isn’t alleviated by our natural remedies, we bust out the Vicks and it works like a charm




This phenomenon is weird.  Why put something you are supposed to breathe in on your feet?  How was this even discovered?

I am just going to keep blindly doing it because it works, even though I have absolutely no real grasp on it.


Kind of like math.




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Comments (14)

  • Alison 9 years ago Reply

    OMG, really?? I need to try this. Because it sounds easier than trying to give medication to my son (when I”m actually allowed to).

    Yeah, I’m clueless too. Which is why Google is my best friend.

  • Bee Musings 9 years ago Reply

    My mom did this to us when we were kids too. The weird thing is that she grew up in Mexico so that remedy is not only old but international as well. My husband won’t let me put it on his feet so I usually rub it on his chest and that seems to work well too.

  • Oh yeah, I’ve heard this. But of course had totally forgotten. C has had a cough for weeks – we’ll have to try this.

  • imperfectmomma 9 years ago Reply

    holy crap! I thought that was just an urban myth! Gotta try that out next time

  • Becky 9 years ago Reply

    The answer I found is it works and no one knows why. yes, seriously.
    “it works 100% of the time although the scientists at the Canada Research council (who discovered it) aren’t sure why.”

  • Jen 9 years ago Reply

    Ok, there is the thing… Vick’s is a cough suppressant and will work even if you open the jar and set it in the room not having it on your body at all. The medication is breathed in so as long as you breath in the vapors… it will work. Put it on feet, arms, chest, throat, where ever.

    Jenni Chiu 9 years ago Reply

    Here’s the thing, though – with a stubborn cough it DID NOT work on his chest. Tell me why, Jen. Tell me whyyyyy!

  • Marta 9 years ago Reply

    I have never heard of this before! It sounds crazy and weird and I can’t wait to try it.

    It also makes no sense to me, but neither does math.

  • Becky 9 years ago Reply

    I had heard this before and totally forgot about it so thanks for reminding me vicks is now on my shopping list. As to why it works, I’m afraid it will continue to be on of those mysteries and you might want to work on solving one of the others to get your list down to 199 sorry.

  • Rusti 9 years ago Reply

    my mom always did it to us when we were kids, and I’ve been doing it with Goose since she was younger (& hubs since we have lived together) and I always just assumed that it was somehow related to how those detoxifying foot things work, or even via reflexology (which I know, makes even less sense) but I also have no clue what actually is the case. it works, and that’s good enough for me 🙂

  • art 8 years ago Reply

    Hello to all who put comments on here first i have to say i am not a physician,but several of my family members are either pharma,chiropractors,or naturalpathic docs many of them have shown me how your feet are a map of your body,and every part of your body has nerve endings,and your feet is where they mostly end you can go to a reflexologist,and you will jump out of yor seat when they hit a spot in which you are ailing.

  • Virginia 8 years ago Reply

    Because in reflexology every part of ur body is on the bottom of ur feet so with putting the Vicks on the bottom of the feet helps with the lungs

  • Penney 4 years ago Reply

    The bottoms of your feet have the largest pores on the body. The ingredients that suppress the cough are able to be absorbed from these very large pores and then sent throughout the body. Same general (loosely) idea as taking medicine by mouth that is absorbed by the gut and distributed to the rest of the body. I learned this from researching essential oils and discovering that putting them on the bottoms of the feet get them to every cell in the body in 20 min!

  • Trishia Cooper 4 years ago Reply

    It work’s most of the time (7 out of 10)! I put it on the bottom of my kids’ feet, their neck, chest and on their back where their lung’s are located. My 10 year old has a dry & persistent cought as I type this. Him & I are fed up w it & just want to sleep, but….nothing is working tonight. Did the Vick’s, 2 different cough suppressant’s & now I’m going to give him homey and sit him in the bathroom w the steam on or sit outside for a few min. (His doctor recommended taking him outside for 5-10min when his cough is persistent & driving him nut’s, say’s it open’s up the lung’s!

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