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Snot in a Pot!
Member Name: jo1976
Date: 06/03/11, updated on 27/06/13 (71 review reads)
Advantages: Inexpensive, non-medicinal treatments, helps to relieve congestion
Disadvantages: Pungent smell, leaves greasy residue
One of my earliest childhood memories is of being ill with a cold and having my mum rub Vick's VapoRub all over my chest. Now this is not quite the pampering, soothing experience that you might expect as my mum worked as a farm hand and then a cleaner, so her hands were as rough as sandpaper. I can just remember screaming and begging her not to rub it any more! Based on such memorable early experiences, I have subsequently gone on to torture my own children with a touch of Vicks whenever they come down with a cold. Fortunately for them, my own hands are lovely and soft. (My father would no doubt say I've never done a hard day's work in my life.)
For anybody that missed such special childhood moments, Vicks VapoRub is a well-established remedy for colds, sore throats, coughs, congestion and the rather gross sounding 'nasal catarrh'! It is a menthol based treatment that comes in a rather thick transparent creamy gel like substance. In all honesty, I'm struggling to actually describe the colour and consistency accurately without resorting to describing it as something that resembles snot in a pot, but a bit thicker. Nice...
The reason I subject my boys to this even now, is that it is a product that I don't have to grapple with them to get them to swallow! That is pretty important given the really pungent distinctive smell of menthol that this has. It's one of those smells that is fundamentally unpleasant but you can't help continuing to smell. (Kind of like sniffing your own farts!) There are other active ingredients including camphor and eucalyptus but the predominant smell is the menthol.
Although this can be used in an inhalation method (by adults only) to help clear a blocked nose, I've only ever used the rubbing on method, designed to relieve congestion as the vapours are warmed by the heat of the body and reach the nose and mouth. Vicks is safe to use on children as young as six months, which is surprising as many medicines or treatments, even topical ones such as this, are only recommended for little ones over a year old. Fortunately, I haven't needed to use this on my youngest baby as yet but the older boys have been given a good rub down with Vicks from a young age. The beauty of this kind of remedy is that it can be used in conjunction with other medicines without any worries about over-dosing.
For children, only a small amount of Vicks is needed and I apply to both their backs and chest. As it is quite a greasy substance, it does need a lot of rubbing in and that, I think, is as much of a remedy as the effects of inhaling the vapours as they are gently warmed by the body heat. Both of my boys need lots of fuss and cuddles, especially when they are feeling under the weather, and they enjoy the closeness and the gentle pampering involved in applying Vicks to their body after a warm bath and before bedtime. Their experience is far removed from my own! I don't like using this on myself particularly as the Vicks leaves quite an unpleasant greasy sensation on my skin. Despite this greasiness and the very pungent smell, my boys certainly don't object. In fact, if one of them is poorly, the other one will usually start to feign symptoms of a cold in the hope of a rub down too!
It's difficult to determine just how effective Vicks actually is but my sons do usually seem a little less congested in the morning and, more often than not, they tend to sleep better if they have had a little Vicks rubbed on to their chest just before bedtime. Even if the visible effects are limited, it certainly helps them to feel pampered and looked after and gives them a sense of being made better anyway.
The small 50g pots that this comes in lasts for absolutely ages as only a small amount is needed per application - our pot has lasted quite literally for years, so much so that it has actually passed its expiry date (although the scent doesn't appear diminished at all and there is no obvious sign of deterioration in quality or performance.) Considering how long this lasts for, the standard selling price of around £3 (from chemists and supermarkets) doesn't seem too expensive although there are cheaper brands available too.
I will certainly continue to use this on my children whenever they suffer from colds and congestion. If nothing else, it shows them that Mummy cares when they are poorly and that's worth the small outlay for a little pot of snot -to hopefully relieve a build up of snot!
Summary: An inexpensive treatment, ideal for relieving cold symptoms in children