Vicks VapoRub is an over-the-counter, topical ointment designed for temporary relief from coughing or sore muscles and is approved for children as young as age 2 and adults. VapoRub contains camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oil that operate as cough suppressants through released vapors and as topical analgesics. However, there are a plethora of other uses for this versatile product. It can heal cracked skin, sinus headaches, toe fungus and bruises. You also can use it to deter pets, repel insects, and cry on cue.
Cough Relief for Diabetics
Many cough syrups contain sugar, which can be harmful to diabetics. Vicks VapoRub is a topical salve, so diabetic patients can use it frequently without ingesting unnecessary sugar. Liberally massage the ointment into the skin of your chest and throat. Breathe deeply through your nose to inhale the medicated vapors. Reapply Vicks VapoRub every six to eight hours, as needed.
Relieve Sore Muscles
Rub the medicated ointment on any sore muscles. Gently massage the muscles and wrap in a warm, dry towel. Lie down or slightly elevate aching limbs until soreness decreases. Repeat no more than three times in 24 hours.
Heal Cracked Heels
Before going to bed, apply a thick layer of VapoRub into the balls of your feet and heels. Massage into calluses and dry patches. Then, cover your feet with soft, cotton socks. In the morning, wash your feet in warm water. Gently exfoliate softened skin with a pumice stone. Continue each night to maintain smooth, healthy heels.
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LIghtly rub a layer of medicated salve under your nose. Close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose. As you inhale the medicated vapors, your nasal passages will open, temporarily relieving your headache.
Toenail or Fingernail Fungus
Work the medicated Vicks salve into your infected toenails and the surrounding nail bed. Let your feet breathe uncovered, except for bedtime when you need to cover your feet with breathable cotton socks. Reapply Vicks VapoRub to the toenail or fingernail fungus twice a day. Trim the nails frequently until the infected portion is completely removed.
Spread a thin layer of Vicks VapoRub and salt over a fresh bruise. The ingredients work to quickly dissolve the blue and black coloring by encouraging faster break-down of the blood in the bruise.
Place an opened jar of Vicks VapoRub anywhere you want to keep your cat or dog away from. Vets often recommend this to train indoor pets from eliminating in undesired locations. For example, if your pet has a habit of going in your closet, place the open jar at the entrance.
Eco-Friendly Insect Repellant
Skip the harsh chemicals. Dab VapoRub behind your ears, elbows, inner knees, and on your neck before going outside. These pulse points release the camphor scent throughout the day. You can also place opened jars of Vicks VapoRub on picnic tables to ward off flies.
If you need to cry on cue for a stage performance or photo shoot, dab a small amount of VapoRub just below your eyes. The vapors will cause your eyes to water. Be careful not to get any of the ointment in your eyes. Do not put the VapoRub on your eyelids, or it might leak into your eyes.
Amanda Herron is a photojournalist and writer whose credits include: "Georgia Realtor Magazine," "Jackson Parent Magazine," "Christian Guitarist and Bassist" and the Associated Press. Herron has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in Education from Union University. She is a member of the NPPA and has awards from the Tennessee Press Association and Baptist Press.