Cold and flu season is upon us and while you may have escaped a bout of sniffles thus far, know that if you do end up with a stuffy nose or congested chest there is one staple product you can you rely on.
Enter Vicks VapoRub, the gel based formula that has been curing many a germ-based ailment for 100 years. That's not its only super power though, give this over-the-counter decongestant a chance, and it'll remedy more than your flu symptoms.
Here's 15 ways to harness the true power of Vicks.
But first...how does Vicks VapoRub work?
But what is Vicks VapoRub and what actually makes it so damn versatile? Well, each tub of salve contains a powerful blend of ingredients: camphor, menthol, eucalyptus, cedar leaf oil, nutmeg oil, petrolatum, thymol and turpentine oil.
These work together to loosen mucus – which means you get to clear out your airways to be cleared more effectively. They also have a cooling effect, which can bring relief to a sore nose.
Plus, it's safe for children two and up, so you can use it without having to worry about irritating your skin.
If you want to get right to the 15 ways to use Vicks VapoRub, keep scrolling down
How do I use Vicks VapoRub?
For conventional use in children over 12 years old and adults, rub the formula on your chest, throat and back under super loose clothing or PJs. Doing this, the vapour is easily inhaled and can work its magic.
At work? Then melt a couple of teaspoons into hot water, stir, and then sit over and inhale deeply.
Where do I put Vicks to unblock my nose?
If a stuffy nose is driving you mad then Vicks VapoRub can help to make you feel as though you can breathe more easily. It's best to layer the formula onto your throat or chest to help with a blocked nose.
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What is Vicks VapoRub good for?
Read our list below to find out what unconventional uses – away from soothing your blocked nose and easing your cold – Vicks VapoRub can bestow upon your body below.
15 things to do with Vicks VapoRub
1. Cure insect bites
Because Vicks VapoRub has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, it helps speed up your recovery process. It also takes the swelling down and the menthol helps to soothe any itching.
2. Soothe cracked heels
Suffering from dry skin on your feet? Not only will slathering your feet with Vicks leave them smelling minty fresh, it will also leave them super soft.
It contains camphor, eucalyptus and menthol in a turpentine oil base, which is extremely emollient, so will trap in any moisture.
Before bed, apply a generous layer to your heels (or wherever your feet need TLC), then put your socks on over the top. It might even knock your best moisturiser off its pedal stool.
3. Treat athlete's foot
For the same reason above, this salve can also help relieve foot problems like athlete’s foot. Menthol has strong anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that make it effective at killing fungus, and preventing new fungus from growing.
Camphor is also a natural nail fungus fighter, as is cedar leaf oil and thymol, both of which are contained in the Vicks VapoRub formula.
4. Stop your cat from scratching
Put simply, they detest the smell. So if your furry little friend is scratching up the walls (or worse, your legs), apply a small amount of Vicks VapoRub to the area.
5. Relieve headaches
Want to know how to get rid of headaches without taking tablets? Dab Vicks VapoRub onto your temples. The menthol can improve headache management because it activates receptors that produce a cooling sensation and soothe an overactive nervous system during an attack.
6. Mitigate sore muscles
Menthol and methyl salicylate are known as counterirritants. They work by causing the skin to feel cool and then warm, which then distracts you from feeling aches or pains deeper in your muscles, joints, and tendons.
Massage a bit into the tender area, cover with a warm towel and relax. Do this on Sunday Runday, or any other time you tackle more than 5KM.
7. Improve skin conditions
If you suffer from eczema, Vicks VapoRub can help to soothe inflamed areas of skin, thanks to its antimicrobial ingredients like menthol.
8. Reduce stretch marks
This VapoRub hack went viral on Pinterest, after users reported a reduced appearance of their stretch marks. Whilst it's not a 100% proven method, if you are looking to fade the appearance of stretch marks, apply some Vicks VapoRub to the area daily and see results within a couple of weeks.
9. Fade bruises
Yep, really. Vicks Vaporub is seriously effective at reducing minor bruises thanks to its ability to lessen swelling and inflammation. This works best if you apply the VapoRub as soon as you feel a bruise coming on - rather than waiting for it to fully develop.
10. Relieve earache
Of course, heading to your pharmacist or GP is the first port of call if you've got an ear infection - but, if you're looking for a home remedy for your earache in the meantime, this is it. Place a small cotton ball with Vicks VapoRub in your ear and leave it there for a few hours. This will help to reduce pain until you see your doctor.
11. Ease a cough
It's the obvious one - but Vicks VapoRub is great for easing coughs that are caused by colds. The chest rub is perfect for relieving the catarrh and phlegm that give you a chesty cough.
12. Zap blemishes
Similarly to DIY hacks like popping toothpaste on a spot, some people believe Vicks VapoRub helps to dry up pimples overnight. Whilst some of the ingredients in Vaporub might help to nix spots, other ingredients might actually block pores more. We'd recommend using one of the best spot treatments, rather than Vicks.
13. Heal minor cuts
Another reason to always keep chest rub in your medical kit, Vicks VapoRub can help to heal minor scratch and scrapes. The thick, waxy (and not to mention, antiseptic) formula helps to create a barrier over your cut - warding off infection.
Apply a thick layer to clean skin once or twice daily until the affected area is healed. (A word of warning though: don't use Vicks on an open wound or gash, and if you notice any type of sting or burning sensation, take the product off immediately and rinse with water.)
14. Potty-train pets
This hack works in the same way Vicks helps to ward pets off scratching your sofa, the smell of Vicks can help to potty train your pets. If your cat or dog has decided it likes to 'go' in a certain area of your house, leave some Vicks in those areas to avoid incidents.
15. Moisturise dry skin
Vicks helps to moisturise dry and cracked feet - so it makes sense then that it's also excellent at soothing the rest of your limbs.
Is it safe to put Vicks VapoRub in your nose?
Know that Vick's VapoRub is solely for external use only and that it should go no where near your eyes. You should never eat it, put it into your nostrils or apply it to cut skin. If your cough doesn't go away after a couple of weeks, head to see your GP.
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