Sunday, November 14, 2010

VapoRub verily vindicated

Today’s ‘Positive and Optimistic Sunday’. Sweetheart Vivienne has a slight cold. When I was a nipper I loved getting colds. Because each time I did, my dad or mum would rub my chest with Vicks VapoRub [1]. I loved that stuff. Could’ve been its smell (I’m partial to menthol/eucalyptus aromas), or the tactility of having my chest rubbed. I don’t know why it was rubbed on my chest. The chest is close to the lungs; but the VapoRub treatment was for an upper, i.e. not lower, respiratory infection. So maybe it should’ve been applied to my hands which I could’ve then held near my nose to inhale. Anyway as soon as I had VapoRub rubbed on my chest, I knew my cold had met its match. And I loved snuggling under the bedclothes and deeply inhaling the mentholated air. I haven’t used VapoRub for 55 years or more. But I may start using it again. Because science has confirmed its effectiveness. The 13 November issue of Pediatrics reported on an experiment which randomised 140 children aged 2-11 years with upper respiratory infections into one of three groups, i.e. chests and necks rubbed with VapoRub, or petrolatum ointment (i.e. Vasoline or similar), or nothing – for one night [2]. All groups improved; but the VapoRub group had the biggest improvement in sleep, cough and congestion. The researchers concluded VapoRub’s a safe and effective paediatric cold remedy. What goes around comes around, eh.

3 comments:

Sue Appel said...

WOW, I have the same recollections of vaporub from my childhood.
I love the smell of it and I often take a eucalyptus leaf to smell it. Brings back my youth ;)
Recently when I was having trouble breathing at night, I started used a vicks inhaler stick. i don't know if it helps, but it made me feel so good!
Have a good week.
Lots of love xx

Meg said...

I hope SV gets over her cold soon. xx

Geoffrey Brittan said...

Maybe your first instinct was right; that the hands caressing your chest held the healing power. Perhaps the reassurance was the medicine.

Do you remember that episode in the MASH television series (that's more than 30 years ago!) when the camp runs out of pain killers and is forced to rely on placebos? Now, if they had had Vicks VapoRub think what they could have done!