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Internet Cough Cure Debunked

Internet Cough Cure Debunked

Want cough relief?

If you apply Vicks VapoRub to the bottom of your feet at bedtime, coughs will stop in about five minutes and relief will last for hours, according to an e-mail that’s been forwarded many times around the Internet. The e-mail claims this treatment works 100 percent of the time.

And that’s red flag number one: Nothing is 100 percent effective.

Two different friends recently forwarded this e-mail to me. It starts off: “Vicks Vapor Rub try it, it works for coughs place on bottom of feet.”

Two more red flags: The product name is spelled wrong and the syntax is all over the highway.

According to the e-mail, the Canada Research Council discovered this amazing cough treatment. Turns out, there is no Canada Research Council, but there is a National Research Council of Canada, and last spring they issued a statement noting that they’ve never conducted any sort of research with Vicks VapoRub.

This popular ointment – which combines camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol – has been used for many years as a cough suppressant, usually applied to the upper chest. That’s not saying it WON’T work when applied to the bottom of your feet. But don’t bet on it.

“Foot Rub Cough Cure: Fact or Fiction?” The National Research Council of Canada, 6/7/08,