It is cold and flu season again. Vick's the makers of Vick's VapoRub has published study that shows it may relieve a kid's nighttime cough and nasal congestion. The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease report that children suffer between six and ten colds every year. Most parents try a wide variety of medications/rubs/concoctions to help their children deal with the colds. Many of the over the counter medications do not have evidence to support their effectiveness; just as many of the natural and Naturopathic approaches to deal with colds are not scientifically supported. That is why I am excited to see the results of this study done by the Vick's company. The vapor rub contains camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oils, along with other ingredients, but these oils are the essences of the product.

The research was done by Dr. Ian M. Paul of Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA and his team, using 138 children with an average age of 6. The children were either given a petroleum-based Vick's VapoRub or petroleum jelly without the active ingredients or no treatment. Parents were all given the VapoRub under their nose before applying the tested product to their children so they would not know what group their children were in. The parents of the children who used the VapoRub, reported less cough, congestion and more restful sleep in their children, along with improved sleep for the parents.

The rub did not seem to have an effect on runny noses and in half of the kids it caused a mild irritation. There are more severe side effects reported with the use of over the counter cold medication. Vick's VapoRub is not top on my list of things to recommend to parents, because of the ingredients. However there is another great product that is similar to the rub, it is Gaia Kids Warming Chest Rub.

Another great and safe treatment for children with a cold is wet sock treatment. In the body our feet are directly connect to our head, so what we do to our feet helps with cold and flu symptoms in the head and chest. Wet socks are simple to do. Here is what you need and how to do the wet sock treatment.

Supplies - 1 pair cotton socks, 1 pair thick wool socks, towel and warm bath or warm foot bath.

Directions: Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip. Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first. Warming can be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 5-10 minutes. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel. Place cold wet socks on feet. Cover with thick wool socks. Go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled. Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.

Effects of the Wet Sock Treatment: This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.

If you or your child is dealing with a cold, call Dr. Larrow at  (415) 912-9934, and have her help set up a treatment plan specifically for you.