Readers React: You don’t have to be Latino to have a lifelong love affair with Vicks

Emmanuel Juarez and his mother, Esmeralda Orozco, smell a jar of Vicks VapoRub at Santee Alley in downtown Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I enjoyed reporter Esmeralda Bermudez’s Column One piece on the Latino community’s love affair with Vicks VapoRub. I must say that my family, which has no Latino heritage that I know of, has used Vicks all my life.

As Bermudez describes with the subjects of her piece, my mother rubbed it on our chests as well as on our necks when we had a cold or sore throat. Mom also had migraines — what she called “sick headaches” in the days before there were specific medications for her malady — and she used Vicks on her face. I also have had migraines since my late teenage years, and Vicks is never far from me.

I know many other non-Latino folks who have also grown up loving and using Vicks, including my entire family.

Mary Lippold, Los Angeles



To the editor: As an asthmatic child in post-World War II England, I was smeared with Vicks VapoRub on my chest and back by my parents who believed as I do to this day — that it provided relief for me when gasping for breath.

Years later while in boot camp in San Diego, with most of my fellow boots sick from the flu and other miserable bronchial maladies, I had my mother send me a jar of Vicks. I used it several times a day, placing a dab on my tongue, to remedy a very sore throat, just as I had seen my grandfather do so many years before.

One day during inspection, my company commander found my jar of Vicks and asked in pretty colorful language what I used it for. I explained and after some more colorful language, he threw my jar across the barracks and moved onto his next victim.


Weeks later I discovered that he had his own jar of Vicks in his office. Enough said.

Al Frisch, Newhall

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