Sunday, January 4, 2009

When urban legends are true

As any of you who have read my blog in the past week are aware, Kiddo has RSV. With the RSV has come thick-n-plentiful congestion and a frequent cough. I'd posted about this on my Facebook status the day before yesterday (because if one is going to whinge on about something, one might as well whinge on in any available forum, eh? I Twittered about it too...). Within an hour, I had no less than three of my friends reply to my FB status update to suggest that I rub Vicks on the soles of Kiddo's feet at bedtime.

Now, I'd heard of this practice before and dismissed it pretty much out of hand. I mean, when I was a kid, sure, Mom would slather my throat and chest with Vicks (then wrap a dishtowel around my neck, safety-pinned at the back, under my jammies) whenever I had a bad chest cold/cough. But that makes some amount of sense, what with the vapors having good proximity to the breathing and all. How on earth could having Vicks on the bottom of one's feet be beneficial, if one sleeps like a normal human (or even like Kiddo, with her various contortions and shiftings about in her sleep) and not pretzeled up like some master yoga practitioner?? Plus, the instructions include covering the Vicks-slathered feet with socks (for bed linens-protection purposes) which adds a further layer of vapor-blocking to the enterprise.

But still, THREE people. Three mothers who I find to be not only quite sane, but utterly trustworthy, no less. All three of them were telling me of their first-hand experience doing this and swearing to me that this Vicks-on-feet thing worked. I told Hubby about it, and he scoffed. I told him I thought I might try it, and he rolled his eyes and scoffed further, then remarked that it would "ruin the bedding" before considering the matter closed. I googled it and proceeded to read the Snopes article (oh Snopes, how I adore thee and thy debunking ways) which didn't give a solid confirmation or denial. I clicked back to my google search results and proceeded to read blog after blog after message board after message board post about how mom after mom tried this with much success. (Of course no one hopped onto the interwebz to announce they'd tried this method and found it to be full of hooey....) It sure seemed like a lot of anecdotal evidence... I considered the idea some more.

When I announced my intention to Vicksify her feet at Kiddo's bedtime, Hubby threw his hands up and shook his head, as Hubby is wont to do when I'm on to one of my "crazy schemes", but I persisted. I slathered the bottoms of Kiddo's feet with Vicks (well, actually, with Generic Mentholated Rub Goo) and double-socked them, just to be sure that the linens and vast horde of stuffed animals that share Kiddo's bed wouldn't be too camphortastic come morning. We also ran the cool mist humidifier (set to "tropical rainforest") with the Vicks scented pad thingy in the holder for additional mentholated effect. Hubby was rather skeptical, and to be honest, so was I, but I figured it wasn't going to hurt anything, except maybe a stuffed animal or twelve who might need a bath come morning.

Kiddo fell asleep. Time ticked by. Nary a cough sounded from her room. I was up until almost midnight (thanks to an afternoon nap that threw my schedule totally off) and still, not a cough. Kiddo is an impressive cougher, too - it rings out through the house, reverberating off the walls in such a manner as to make our house seem like one of those sanitarium tuberculosis wards of old. All I heard was silence. I checked on her before turning in at twelve. Sleeping soundly and breathing pretty well (she was snoring, as she does whenever she's congested). Hmmmm.

This morning, Kiddo woke us up shortly after seven. Not by coughing up a lung, mind you, but by scampering into our room, relatively bright eyed and bushy tailed. Well, bushy haired at any rate - the kid does an awesome "bed head" look, even with her hair secured in a pony tail or braids before sleep. No coughing. None. Her nasal congestion also was markedly improved - I did the "squirt squirt" routine (nasal saline spray and much nose blowing) with her this morning and there was hardly anything produced compared to the floods of ick that scoffed at the Puffs Plus and exploded over my hand of yesterday.

Now, it is entirely possible that this is all coincidental, that Kiddo would've been this much improved without any wacky old wives'-urban legend remedy. Hubby thinks it was just the added presence of vapors in the room and posited that had I done as my mother did and rubbed it onto Kiddo's chest/throat instead, it would've worked as well if not better than the feet. Hmmmm. All I know is that 24 hours ago I was thinking there was no way Kiddo was going to be healthy enough to go back to school tomorrow, and now today? I totally think she could. She has no fever, hardly any congestion, and has only coughed once since she woke up. We're staying home again today and having one more day of "taking it easy" just to be safe, but all signs point to YES on the return to school, and you'd better believe I'm rejoicing over that.

Either way, you can be darn sure I'm going to Vicks her feet again tonight!


18 comments:

annie kelleher said...

not all old wives' tales are hooey... i sort of think of them like cliches... the reason they're cliches isthat they're true... teh reason for old wives' tales is that a lot of them work!! very cool to know a new one, too... ive been fighting a bad cough all weekend!!!! im getting out hte vicks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mitzi Zohar said...

I'm so glad she's feeling better! Don't you just love all the information that's available to us 24/7? My family says "Mummy Googles everything!"

By the by, I do Iyengar Yoga. It's worth googling (if you're interested).

Eudea-Mamia said...

Men?!?!?!

Would it just be so %$#@! hard to say "honey, you're a genius!! All that time on Facebook finally paid off."

Congrats on improving health!!

Queenie Jeannie said...

It really does work hun!!

I blogged about it on one of my great tip Tuesdays, lol!

Bottom line? I'm glad you tried it and your little one is feeling better!!!!

The O'Donnells said...

I've used the Vicks trick before and it's amazing how well it works!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I do have a quick question you might be able to help with - How do I add the "Secret is in the Sauce" picture on the sidebar of my blog and have it link back to SITS' blog? I've only been able to upload the image without it linking back...

Helpless in blog world,
The O'Donnell's Opus

The O'Donnells said...

Thank you thank you thank you! My email is natalie.p.odonnell@gmail.com

I've added the code from the SITS website, but it's not linking back to their blog. Grr!

Thanks a million for the help!

Momof3 said...

I did the vick's on the feet with the kiddos this week too, after reading about it online!

I think it worked well.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Glad to hear it worked. I tried it on Charlie Brown and no luck. But I know it works for some people.

And, as far as the "crazy schemes", I would have said, "WHAT IS IT GOING TO HURT???" It's not like you're wasting money or taking a chance on her health, or even banking everything on this one possible cure. It was just something to try - why not give it a whirl? Glad to hear she's feeling better. And, probably, you got a good night's sleep too!

nikkicrumpet said...

This is so interesting. My dad tried this and it really worked for him. It seems so strange...hubby and I are still skeptical...but I would try it if either of us gets a bad cough!

My name is Andy. said...

I used to work with a girl who would put a spoonful of Vick's in her tea when she was sick!

YEWWWWWWWWWW. Feet I would try, drinking it.. not so much!

I'm glad it worked for you. What did Hubby chalk it up to this morning, or was he ready to see the error of his eye rolling ways?

Givinya De Elba said...

I have heard this one works! I am usually so sceptical. And I love Snopes too. But I believe this works. I just wonder how somebody found this out.

Sorry, I've been going on and on about my own problems, I totally forgot to ask how Kiddo was going.

See? I am rude.

Anonymous said...

With the sensory issues, does Kiddo protest the vicks on her feet? I'm not sure how I could stand that!!!LOL

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

I've heard wonderful things about the Vicks... I just haven't gotten a chance to try it!!!

I hope she continues to be well and she can go to school tomorrow!!

just the five of us said...

My sister swears by Vicks on the feet! My nephew had a horrible cough and she did the same thing. He stopped coughing! Vicks also works for nail fungus believe it or not too:)

Michele said...

I heard about that. Interesting. I'm trying it out!

ourboysourlives said...

HA told ya so....

Cathy said...

I have never tried the Vick's on the feet...I will try that next time!

Ronnica said...

I have all kinds of sniffily, drainage, coughy issues going on right now...I'm going to try it tonight and see if it helps!