Interesting Ways Vicks VapoRub Can Protect You Outdoors

Vicks VapoRub has long been a staple in many households. Since its origins in Greensboro, North Carolina, where Lunsford Richardson formulated the salve in the late 19th century, it has earned a reputation as a go-to remedy for a variety of ailments. Originally developed to provide relief from respiratory ailments, congestion, and coughs, this versatile jelly has found its way into medicine cabinets worldwide. The iconic blue jar has become a familiar sight in households around the globe, symbolizing comfort and relief during times of illness. 

However, Vicks VapoRub's prowess might extend beyond indoor comfort. As outdoor enthusiasts seek innovative, lightweight ways to stay protected and comfortable during their adventures, Vicks VapoRub surfaces as an unsuspecting solution. 

Today, we're exploring five interesting ways Vicks VapoRub can protect you outdoors, showcasing its ability and effectiveness beyond its traditional applications. Read on to discover why this salve might become an essential in your backpack

Repel insects

Though Vicks is soothing for us humans, it is not as calming and relaxing for pesky insects. The combination of its aromatic ingredients, like menthol and eucalyptus oil, creates scents that insects find unpleasant. Menthol, for one, has been shown to be highly toxic to a variety of pests, according to a study in the International Journal of Tropical Insect Science. Similarly, a study published in Forest Ecology and Management showed pesticidal activity by eucalyptus oil. As such, when applied to exposed skin or even strategic pieces of your gear, Vicks VapoRub forms a pungent barrier that insects are less likely to approach. Its strong scents mask the attractive odors our bodies naturally emit, making us less appealing to mosquitoes, flies, and other bothersome insects. 

Avoiding insects is not just a matter of annoyance; it's crucial for safeguarding your health. Many insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks, are carriers of diseases that can have severe and long-lasting consequences for those who are infected. From debilitating illnesses to life-threatening conditions, the risks associated with insect-borne diseases are significant. Repelling insects is a vital preventive measure in reducing the risk of contracting these diseases. By keeping insects at bay, you proactively minimize the likelihood of bites and the accompanying discomfort.

Keeps dry skin at bay

In challenging environments or extreme weather conditions, proper skincare is essential for your comfort and well-being. (No, we're not talking about a 12-step Korean skincare routine, although SPF is undeniably crucial when spending time outdoors). We're talking about hydration. Beyond a dewy glow, moisturized and hydrated skin is paramount for preventing discomfort and potential complications, especially in areas exposed to the elements. 

When subjected to harsh weather conditions or even rough terrain, dry skin is more likely to chap than moisturized skin. The cracks not only cause discomfort but also increase the risk of other infections and skin issues since they are exposed to wounds. 

Vicks' emollient base effectively hydrates and protects your skin from becoming dry and chapped, preventing cracks and bleeding. By forming a nourishing barrier, Vicks VapoRub helps to lock in moisture and maintain skin integrity. In this way, sliding a little tub of Vicks into your gear when you're packing can be a game-changer. 

Ward off infections on small cuts

If you do happen to get hurt, a swab of Vicks VapoRub could fend off more serious infections. When applied to minor wounds, like cuts or scrapes, Vicks VapoRub can form a physical barrier that prevents bacteria from entering and proliferating at the wound site. One of the ingredients in this jelly, camphor, has been shown to demonstrate antimicrobial properties that can inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that are potentially harmful. 

Additionally, the hydrating properties of Vicks can keep the wound moist which is essential for proper healing. By sealing in moisture, the wound is better able to regenerate new skin cells. 

Of course, Vicks VapoRub is not a complete substitute for wound care, such as cleaning the wound and applying an appropriate antiseptic. However, in the wilderness, when packing light is important, Vicks can stave off harmful complications until you're able to get back and complete your first aid. 

Suppress coughs

When venturing outdoors, chilly, dry air can trigger coughing, even if you're not sick. This is because low humidity can irritate the respiratory tract, causing inflammation and increased mucus production. In such situations, having a remedy like Vicks VapoRub on hand can provide relief by soothing irritated airways and suppressing coughs, allowing you to fully enjoy your outdoor activities without the distraction of respiratory discomfort. 

But coughs aren't just a health issue; they're a hassle. They disrupt your outdoor fun and can make it hard to get a good night's sleep. By harnessing the power of Vicks VapoRub, you're more likely to have a peaceful night's sleep even in cold, wintry air. This is especially beneficial during outdoor adventures like hikes or camping trips, where a good night's rest is essential for replenishing energy and ensuring safety.

By the same mechanism that Vicks alleviates respiratory irritation, it may also enhance your performance during outdoor adventures. A study in the European Journal of Science found that menthol, a key ingredient in Vicks Vaporub, helped runners breathe more comfortably and boost their endurance during races. Now, this effect may be purely psychological in nature, as another study in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports found that the cooling sensation of menthol merely encourages one's "drive to breathe." Nevertheless, increased breathing is important for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly those adventuring at high altitudes where oxygen is sparse, and your heart needs to pump harder than normal.

Relieve aches and pains

For minor aches and pains — the ones that aren't clear signs that you should stop and rest — massaging Vicks into your skin may come to the rescue. Vicks VapoRub can be used as a topical analgesic to alleviate muscle pain. By massaging the jelly into your sore muscles, Vicks can endow you with the temporary relief that you need to finish your journey without being sidelined by discomfort. The cooling sensations produced by Vicks can help muscles relax and ease tension, making physical activities more comfortable and enjoyable, allowing you to reach your destination with greater ease. 

But the benefits of these soothing properties don't stop there. Vicks' potent blend of ingredients can also serve as an excellent solution for addressing irritations caused by bug bites or from brushing up against an allergenic plant. Simply apply a dab of the jelly onto the affected area and let its soothing ingredients work their magic.