Applying Vicks VapoRub to the throat and chest can help with symptoms such as a blocked nose. Applying Vicks on the feet, however, is unlikely to have any effect on cold symptoms.

It is possible to apply Vicks to other areas of the body, such as the feet, but it is unclear whether this helps with cold symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about using Vicks on the feet, how the product works in general, and some alternative options.

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There is no clear evidence that applying Vicks to the feet will help with symptoms of a cold.

It is unlikely that applying Vicks to the feet would have any effect on cold symptoms. However, there has been no direct research into this.

The possible benefits of Vicks mostly come from inhaling the product, which means that it must be close to the nose. If Vicks is on the feet, it is probably too far away to breathe in.

Vicks can also create a cooling sensation, which may help with hot flushes from a cold. However, Vicks does not actually lower body temperature. Therefore, it is unclear whether applying Vicks to the feet would have much of an effect on the body, other than providing a cooling sensation for the feet.

Some people use Vicks to relieve minor muscle pain and aches. It is possible that applying Vicks to the feet could help with these symptoms in this area.

It is important to note that Vicks does not treat the causes of a cold. Although many people believe that this product provides temporary symptom relief, there is little research into how effective it is in reducing any symptoms.

One study in the journal Pediatrics examined the effects of Vicks in 138 children between the ages of 2 and 11 years. The researchers found that in comparison with petroleum jelly or no treatment at all, Vicks helped relieve symptoms at night and, thus, improved sleep quality.

Vicks contains three active ingredients that are responsible for its effects:

  • camphor 4.7%
  • eucalyptus oil 1.2%
  • menthol 2.6%

Camphor comes from the wood of Cinnamomum camphora trees, and it is an ingredient in many oils and ointments. One of its main properties is to relieve congestion and coughing. It is also antispasmodic, which means that it helps relax muscles and ease muscle aches.

Many products include eucalyptus oil due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It can help clear the airways and relieve cold symptoms.

Menthol is one of the main chemical components of peppermint oil. As with eucalyptus, it can work as a decongestant.

Together, these ingredients combine to help with decongestion, coughs, and minor muscle aches and pains.

Several inactive ingredients make up the rest of Vicks. These include:

  • cedarleaf oil
  • lemon fragrance
  • nutmeg oil
  • special petrolatum
  • thymol
  • turpentine oil

These ingredients help create the other properties of Vicks, such as its texture.

Vicks recommend not using their rub products on children under 2 years of age. Some of the ingredients in Vicks could be harmful. For example, menthol can cause skin irritation.

It is best to keep this product out of reach of any younger children. If a child swallows Vicks, it can have toxic effects.

Read more about using Vicks for babies and children here.

Although there is no cure for the common cold, there are many options for treating its symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend:

  • resting as much as possible
  • getting plenty of fluids
  • using saline nasal sprays
  • breathing steam from hot water
  • using lozenges
  • taking honey-based drinks
  • using a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer

Several over-the-counter (OTC) medications are also available for reducing cold symptoms.

For example, decongestants can relieve stuffy and blocked noses. They can come in the form of a tablet, a nasal spray, nasal droplets, or a syrup. There are many OTC options available, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and ipratropium bromide (Atrovent).

Some OTC medications are unsafe for young children. It is important to consult a doctor or read the label of any product before using it.

Plenty of natural home remedies can also help with the symptoms of cold and flu. Read about them here.

Vicks is a popular product for treating the symptoms of a cold, such as a blocked nose. Putting Vicks on the feet is unlikely to help with cold symptoms, though it may possibly have a cooling effect on this part of the body.

There is little research into how well Vicks actually treats cold symptoms. Some studies suggest that Vicks could help reduce cold symptoms at night in children, but more research is necessary to confirm this finding.

It is not possible to cure a cold, but the symptoms will go away on their own after a few days. There are many alternative options for reducing the symptoms of a cold, although they are not always effective for everyone.