Melbourne nurse Jodi Way said that rubbing some Vicks on their feet and then putting socks on top can stop your kids from coughing.
"I was at my wits' end. It was 2am and the kids were coughing," The Age quoted the mother of three, as saying.
"Sometimes cough medicine doesn't seem to do the trick. My brother-in-law had sent this email to everyone, saying you should rub Vicks on their feet then put socks on top.
"I doubted that it would do anything but I gave it a try anyway ... I shut the door and it just worked. It works every single time," she added.
However, Professor Colin Robertson, director of respiratory medicine at the Royal Children's Hospital, said there was little that medicine, either conventional or alternative, could do to stop the coughs that plagued children in winter.
"Recurrent post-infective cough" afflicts children aged up to six or seven as a dry, "unproductive" cough that comes after a flu or cold, is worst at night and can last up to 10 weeks after the infection has gone.
"The children who get it seem to get it every time they have a cold," said Professor Robertson.
"But the good news is that it's not actually doing them any harm, it's not a reflection of lung disease or asthma, and ultimately kids grow out of it.
"Sometimes simple things might be just as much beneficial - a hot lemon drink or honey and lemon." he added.
He said there was no evidence that vapour treatments did anything more than unblock noses by thinning out nasal secretions.
"I have no objection to people trying it because it's harmless," he said.
"There are a lots of alternative therapies being promoted by people who say they're fantastic, but when they're subjected to objective evaluation they don't work.
"I learnt once in medical school that if you find there are many treatments for one condition, it usually means none of them work. I think that holds very true for cough medicine," he added.