My Magic Cure for a Chronic Cough. It’s a Miracle!

I have such a breakthrough to report. I wrote about Fia’s chronic cough a couple months ago. This is a cough that lasted for 5-6 months and nothing was working. I was at my wit’s end and annoyed at my pediatricians for chalking it up to a “thing” that toddlers get with various cold cycles. “But she hasn’t had a cold!” I’d say with exasperation. “Well, you know, the mucus can irritate her throat and the cough is the last thing to go. “But she has no mucus!” I’d say, pleading with them to hear me. I asked for them to send her for an X-rays or something. They thought it was unnecessary because her lungs sounded fine. I went in multiple times to make my case.

Finally after my sitter and her teachers at school started to say how much the cough was wearing her down, I took matters into my own hands. I got all the paperwork together to get her into a pediatric pulmonary specialist at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

While I was awaiting approval for an appointment, a miracle happened. I was at a little Xmas gathering with Fia and there was another mom there. Fia started coughing. Of course. I told the mom how exasperated I was by her cough; how I was pulling my hair out over it. She said, “You need to put Vick’s Vapor Rub on her feet.”

What? Huh? It sounded like a piece of voodoo to me. I must have looked skeptical. So she continued.

“I have five kids. Every one of them has had a chronic cough. I kid you not. Put the Baby Vicks on her feet at night. Rub it in and make friction to get her feet warm with it. Then put some on her chest and put a warm towel (not damp) on for 30 seconds. Repeat a few times. Then put her to bed. I promise you, it will work.”

I agreed to try it, but felt like rolling my eyes.

That night I didn’t do it. I mean, what was the point?

Then, I happened to tell one of my girlfriends about this mom’s suggestion. My friend got really excited. “Oh my gosh! Someone else told me about that! It’s totally supposed to work. People swear by it.”

So now my curiosity was piqued. I Googled it and sure enough there are claims all over the internet about the magic of curing a chronic cough by putting Vicks on your feet.

That night I did as instructed with the Vicks. I kid you not: for the first time in 6 months straight, Fia didn’t cough once. I was simply dumbfounded. I did it a second night and at nap times. No cough. I stopped doing it on the chest and only put it on her feet. Still no cough.

I did this for about a week. Then I stopped entirely. That was early January. There have been a few nights where I hear her hacking and if it gets bad, I go in and put the Vicks on her feet. But those nights are few and far between. Other than that, there has been no cough. I repeat: No Cough.

Children’s Hospital called to make an appointment. I told them that for the moment, the problem has subsided.

I honestly can’t believe how something on your feet could cure a cough, but it does and it did. Apparently it works on adults too. I looked it up on Snopes.com–the site that debunks urban legends. Their verdict is “undetermined.” You can check it out if you want to see their report.

Needless to say, I am thrilled, but am still so surprised by the results.  Has anyone else heard of this? Any theories to why it works on the feet?

Coughing in Children
Coughing in Children
Coughing in Children

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  1. by T p

    On February 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    My daughter had the same thing as soon as she started school. It lasted 5 months. We tried everything from allergy medicine, antibiotics to asthma medication. Finnaly we heard about the Vicks thing and tried it . It worked! One thing I will say is that you should check with an asthma doctor. We use asmanex every time she gets a cold. Ever since the 5months of coughing she gets a cough with most colds. The asmanex takes care of it in a couple of days. I feel that the chronic coughing for so long causes her lungs to get irritated when she gets a cold now.

  2. by Jill Cordes

    On February 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Wow, so interesting that you had the same results! And thanks for the Asmanex idea. She has an inhaler with Albuterol–which I never have to use anymore…but if it creeps up again, I’ll look into it!

  3. by Kim

    On February 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    I think it has something to do with whatever the menthol is getting into your bloodstream. Our pediatrician recommended that plus socks when my daughter got congested, because she was on max allergy meds daily already, and he didnt want to have us give her cold meds for congestion on top of it. Worked. Every. Time. Bonus: her baby brother always crawled up next to her feet, so he got the vapour fumes too!

  4. by Amanda

    On February 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    It does not suprise me that your method works. When you rub it on their feet and chest not only does the menthol have an effect on the cough but the act of rubbing increases lymphatic flow and helps them recover much faster. The same thing happens for adults. Whenever you are sick and can increase your lymphatic flow by moving around you are getting better blood flow to your body but most importantly better lymphatic flow which carries your body’s antibodies to fight the cold and flu.

  5. by Diana

    On February 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    oh! you need to hang out with the Latina moms more often! People from virtually ALL Hispanic countries swear by Vicks Vapo Rub! Ha! and… it does work! I put some on feet and chest when my LO is congested. My mom also gave us a cough syrup made from red onions and sugar… let me know if you want more info on that!

  6. by Victoria

    On February 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I’m an adult and I had a chronic cough for several months. A friend told me to put Vicks on the bottom of my feet, put socks on and go to bed. I did this and I have to say… It worked!

  7. by Jill Cordes

    On February 18, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Funny enough Diana, one of the moms who gave me the idea was from Mexico! So I guess it’s an old trick, huh? It works like a charm! I still can’t get over it. Why the feet I wonder?

  8. [...] Home › Other › My Magic Cure for a Chronic Cough [...]

  9. [...] back when her cough was bad, the Vicks Vapor Rub on her feet was an absolute miracle. I still use it on both kids, but the results aren’t as [...]

  10. [...] Em eventually falls back asleep, propped up in crib, humidifier at full speed, slathered in Vicks Vapor Rub, particularly on his feet (click here for more on this cough tip). [...]

  11. [...] sick, I love putting Vick’s Vapor Rub on my feet before bed and sleeping with socks.  It’s an old wife’s tale that the oils will keep you from getting a cough.  I also love putting it on my chest and right under my nose.  I’ve always bought the [...]