What do Vicks cold and flu do? Which Vicks product is the best?

Everyone is familiar with the Vicks products. You can find them in many pharmacies, all around the world. Do you know Vicks helps relieve cold and cough symptoms for over 125 years? This popular brand expanded over the years, and now includes several lines of products formulated for colds and flu, and also target specific symptoms like sinus and nasal congestion, sore throat, chest congestion, cough, and a drug-free formula. 

Vicks cold and flu products 

Dozens of cold and flu products from Vicks are now available on the shelves and online. They are over the counter, come in regular and high strength formulas. Some have been created to be used during the day (non-drowsy), some for the night. They come in different forms: pill, liquid, lozenges, caplets, and ointments. There are special formulas for children and for adults with high blood pressure. 

What do Vicks cold and flu do?  Vicks has an entire line of products for cold and flu, created to provide temporary relief of cold and flu symptoms. They are based on  well established and researched active ingredients:

  • Acetaminophen works as a painkiller and fever reducer. 
  • Dextromethorphan helps manage the cough
  •  Guaifenesin is an  expectorant, helping eliminate the excess mucus and improve productive cough
  • Phenylephrine is an  antihistamine drug that helps treat nasal congestion, found in the adult formula, while another antihistamine- chlorpheniramine is found in the children formula
  • Doxylamine- an antihistamine drug that helps treat nasal congestion during night, found in adult formula
  • Menthol and camphor which provide relief from cough, chest congestion,  nasal congestion, aches and pains

Vicks Products

Vicks DayQuil Cold and flu is a non-drowsy formula created to help cold and flu symptoms during the day. It helps manage typical symptoms of cold and flu including cough, minor pains and aches, fever, sore throat, headaches, nasal and sinus congestion and clear the mucus from airways. 

The active ingredients of DayQuil are acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, guaifenesin, and phenylephrine. 

Vicks NyQuil  Cold and Flu also provides relief of the common symptoms of colds and flu  (ie fever, aches, and pains, cough, sore throat, headaches, runny nose, congestion) but is specifically recommended at bedtime.  Therefore, it has the added benefit of promoting a good night’s sleep, which otherwise would be interrupted by the symptoms. The active ingredients are acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine.  For more severe symptoms, there is available a high strength formula NyQuil severe cold and flu, with added Phenylephrine as a nasal decongestant. There is an alcohol-free NyQuil in liquid form of this product as well. 

DayQuil  HBP is a Vicks medication formulated for individuals with high blood pressure. It is decongestant-free, as decongestants increase blood pressure. Acetaminophen and dextromethorphan are the active ingredients in this formula. 

Children’s NyQuil Cold & Cough was created for children ages 6 and up to relieve symptoms of cold and coughs during the night. It does not contain aspirin,  which is not indicated for children. This formula does not contain alcohol or acetaminophen either. The active ingredients are the antihistamine chlorpheniramine and dextromethorphan, as a cough suppressant.

Flu therapy Vicks have a daytime (Acetaminophen, dextromethorphan phenylephrine), and nighttime formula (acetaminophen, diphenhydramine, phenylephrine) and come in packets that can be used to make hot drinks. They have added menthol to flavor and breathe the Vicks vapors.

Let’s not forget the original Vicks product- Vicks VapoRub ointment, based on camphor and menthol. It is suitable even for young children -age 2 and up-to help with chest congestion, cough, muscle aches, and pains. VicksVapo is also available in sticks, patches, drops, and even shower tablets.

 Vicks BabyCream may be used for younger babies and children- age 3 months and up. It contains eucalyptus, rosemary and may help moisturize, soothe and relax your child. 

Which Vicks products are the best?

The answer is: depends on your symptoms, age, preferences, and whether or not you have a heart condition. Click here on Vicks’s official website and customize your choice. Do you need daytime or nighttime relief? Is it for you or your child? Which form do you prefer – liquids, caplets, lozenges, soothing vapors? Do you want to avoid certain ingredients like alcohol, sugar, lactose, or artificial dyes? Make your choices online and the website will suggest the best option. 

As usual, you should talk to a doctor before starting a new product, even if it is over the counter. Especially if you have heart diseases, high blood pressure, or diabetes- more details about precautions in this article How to choose over the counter cold and flu medicine. For babies and young children, consult a pediatrician. Check out this article Cold and flu remedies for babies, to learn more about which products should be avoided, and which are considered safe for children. As a general rule, it is best to use home remedies for children (like warm teas and soups, nasal saline solutions), if the symptoms are mild. Adults can start with Vicks VapoRub if the symptoms are mild, before trying the other options. Over-the-counter products for colds and flu should be used short-term, to help with the symptoms, and avoid using higher doses than recommended on the label.