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17 Uses for Vicks VapoRub

If you’re someone who remembers your parents slathering your chest and neck with horrible smelling slimy cough medicine and then tucking you into bed, then you’re probably over forty.

It worked wonders back then for cough, congestion, and runny noses and it was a common fall back of parents everywhere. It’s not used so much anymore, but people from all generations may be surprised to find out just how many different survival uses for Vicks VapoRub there are.

We’ve listed 17 survival uses for Vicks VapoRub below along with the basic steps to make your own. We’d love for you to share any additional uses for VapoRub you might know about in the comments below.

Vicks VapoRub contains several ingredients such as camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus oil, that make it an excellent medication for cough and cold symptoms. It also contains inactive ingredients including thymol, nutmeg oil, turpentine oil (from pine tree), and cedar leaf oil, but here’s our list of its uses:

  1. Break Up Chest Congestion that can make you miserable by using Vicks VapoRub. Simply apply a small amount on your chest beneath your shirt. Depending on your tolerance and the severity of the congestion, you can dab a bit under your nose too. For children, apply to the bottoms of both feet and then put their socks and shoes back on.
  2. Help Heal Bruising by massaging a dab into the affected area. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the bruise will heal and begin to dissipate.
  3. Remove Splinters that you may get while bugging out or in a survival situation by covering the area with Vicks VapoRub and then a band aid. Let it remain there overnight. By the next morning, the splinter will either already be out or will come out when you remove the band aid.
  4. Eradicate Toenail Fungus that may suddenly appear during survival situations by applying Vicks VapoRub daily to the affected toenails. Eventually the section with the fungus will grow out and you can simply clip it off but this helps in the meantime.
  5. Soothe Dry Itchy Scalp which can get worse with irregular bathing and shampooing. Simply massage some of the Vick’s into the areas of your scalp that are dry and itchy, and you’ll get relief.
  6. Acne Treatment may not be at the top of your list during a survival situation or bug out, but you can bet your teenage son or daughter is still concerned about it. For zits that pop up during a survival situation, dab a bit of Vicks VapoRub on them and watch them shrink overnight. You’ll have happy teens again and we all know that can go a long way toward making a survival situation more pleasant.
  7. Stem the Stench of bodies going without bathing or any other smells that may be overpowering during a bug out or survival situation. When city sewers stop working and other smells are wafting everywhere as you navigate through an area, you can rub Vicks VapoRub under your nostrils to stem the stench. You’ll smell the menthol of course but it’s more pleasant than smelling sewage, rotten garbage, dead animals, or worse. Be cautious using this method for children as some children have been reported as having serious negative reactions to continuous inhalation of Vicks VapoRub.
  8. Relieve Headache Pain by simply rubbing a bit of Vicks’ VapoRub on your forehead or temples. Be careful not to get it in your eyes.
  9. Heal Minor Scrapes when you don’t have other first aid supplies by covering them with a thin layer of Vicks VapoRub. It will sting at first because of the menthol but it acts similar to Vaseline and will prevent air from getting to the cut and keep it protected from dirt and other nasty stuff while it heals.
  10. Treat Cough and Runny Nose in survival situations when you don’t have other remedies on hand by dabbing a bit just under your nostrils. For children who can sometimes react to Vick’s under their nose, simply rub it on the soles of their feet, put their socks and shoes back on and continue on your way.
  11. Soothe Earaches during a survival situation or bug out by applying some Vicks VapoRub to a cotton ball and gently pressing it into the outer ear area. It’s the menthol that will provide some relief from the pain. As always, seek medical attention when feasible and don’t insert anything into your ears, including Vicks VapoRub.
  12. Ease Joint Pain like arthritis and other joint pain in the knees, shoulder, elbow, and neck pain by massaging Vicks VapoRub into the affected areas.
  13. Repel Mosquitoes by rubbing a thin layer of Vicks VapoRub onto any skin that is exposed. Mosquitoes are attracted by odor and they don’t like the smell of this, so they’ll go elsewhere.
  14. Soothe Itchy Bug Bites by applying a dab of Vicks VapoRub and rubbing it in to the bite area. You can leave it on overnight or wash it off once the itching stops.
  15. Treat Ringworm if it crops up and you have nothing else to use by covering the area with Vicks VapoRub. It works surprisingly well to clear it up.
  16. Relieve Hemorrhoids if you can stand the temporary stinging sensation. Vicks VapoRub applies on the affected area will help shrink your hemorrhoids overnight. If you have medication actually used for hemorrhoids, use it instead to get relief without the temporary stinging sensation.
  17. Moisturize Cracked Dry Skin which can crop up, especially in a survival situation when you don’t have the luxury of bathing and moisturizing at all let alone regularly. Simply massage a bit of Vicks VapoRub into your dry cracked heels or other areas and dress as usual.

So, there you have it. Our list of survival uses for Vicks VapoRub. Some of them may not be lifesaving uses but they will certainly come in handy when you’re in a survival situation without the right medications for what ails you. If you’re allergic to any of the ingredients in VapoRub or are looking for an even more customized alternative, you can make your own all-natural Vapor Rub. We’ve included the basic steps for you below, but you can modify it by using your favorite essential oils or healing herbs.

Basic Steps for DIY VapoRub:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of beeswax with a ½ cup of oil of your choosing (coconut, almond, olive oil, etc.) in a double boiler until it just melts.
  2. Add your choice of essential oils depending on the healing properties you seek (peppermint, cinnamon, eucalyptus, clove, lavender, rosemary, etc.)
  3. Mix well and pour into glass containers. Seal tight and store.
  4. Use as needed.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor Survival Sullivan or its affiliates have medical training. Do not use if you have asthma, are allergic to any of the ingredients, or have any known breathing issues that could be made worse from breathing in VapoRub. Essential oils are natural, but they too can cause unintended negative reactions. Research thoroughly before using any new treatment. The advice provided here is intended as informational only and should not be taken as medical advice or treatment. As always, we recommend you consult your own physician regarding any change in your diet, medication, or other treatments.

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About Megan Stewart

Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart. For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of six grandsons, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.

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