A slew of bizarre hacks have surfaced on TikTok this year claiming to cure coughs and colds.
One involves putting a potato in your sock and claims it draws viruses out through the foot.
It has also been suggested to press the forehead with a thumb to distract people from their symptoms, while drinking onion water has gained popularity due to the belief that it relieves a sore throat.
The videos have been viewed millions of times, with a single clip about onion water receiving nearly 300,000 views in a month.
Doctors told DailyMail.com that while they are not inherently dangerous, there was “no convincing scientific” basis behind the techniques.
Zinc and garlic may have some benefit, but the science is inconclusive, so taking some Tylenol and getting some rest is the best course of action.
Pictured above are five of the cough and cold remedies currently being shared on TikTok. Doctors have said there is no evidence that any of them can ease the infections
They said people probably got better naturally since the common cold normally lasts about five days, then attributed it to the hack they used.
The cures have resurfaced online just as common illnesses like the flu and RSV are returning with a vengeance this winter.
It comes after doctors warned the ‘dangerous’ TikTok trend of taping your mouth shut to lose weight and sleep better could lead to suffocation.
In one clip, watched by 289,000 people, a mother tells viewers that if she left a slice of raw potato in her son’s sock overnight, his cold went away.
Another shows a teen confidently telling us that 20 seconds of pressure on the forehead can relieve symptoms.
Dr. Thomas Moore, a physician at the University of Kansas, told DailyMail.com that he “applauded” people’s creativity.
“All this cough and cold lasts about five days, for the typical respiratory virus. It can linger, but generally clears up in five days,” he said.
“So when something improves, people attribute it to the remedy they chose and start swearing by it.”
‘For example, I was recently talking about it with one of our pharmacists whose parents are healthcare workers in Switzerland and have a scientific education.
“She says her mother still swears by putting onions in her socks to ease her symptoms, while her older relatives still recommend an ancient remedy of giving sick children a glass of whiskey and a heavy blanket.”
CDC is calling on people to wear masks during Christmas to stop the spread of flu and RSV
America’s leading health officials are now recommending masks to prevent the spread of RSV and the flu this winter – not just Covid.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said at a briefing on Monday, “we also encourage you to wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask to help prevent the spread of respiratory disease,” when it concerns prevention measures against flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
It comes as nearly every state in America is recording “very high” flu levels as the US is hit by a resurgence of respiratory viruses this fall due to lockdown.
The CDC is reporting 9 million flu infections and 4,500 deaths from the virus this flu season — the worst of which are expected in the coming weeks. The typical flu season runs from October to May each year.
But for the two that have been studied – zinc and garlic treatments – the few available documents were inconclusive.
Laboratory studies suggest that zinc may prevent rhinoviruses – one of the viruses that cause the common cold – from entering cells.
A few papers found that people taking zinc supplements shortened the duration of their infections by a few days.
But dr. Pritish Tosh, a physician at the Mayo Clinic, said: ‘Taken together, research shows mixed results for zinc and the common cold. For that reason, zinc is not recommended to shorten your cold symptoms.’
Garlic is known to be packed with sulfur compounds, such as allicins, that can help kill bacteria — but not viruses.
But very few studies have looked at its ability to fight the cold.
A 2020 meta-analysis found only one paper it could review, which found that out of 146 people, those who used garlic every day for three months experienced fewer colds.
The results need to be supported by more thorough research.
Dr. Moore added, “Potatoes in the sock, that sure is imaginative. I don’t understand the reason for that.
“Pressing your thumb in the center of your forehead will distract you, give you something else to focus on so you don’t feel too bad.
“Garlic in honey, I have to say that in Germany pharmacies prescribe certain teas for respiratory ailments – many of them have garlic or honey for people to drink.
‘Does it work? Probably not. But it’s supportive care that makes people feel better and like they’re doing something.
“In terms of scientific data, there are no convincing scientific papers saying these remedies work, but if they make you feel better, that’s what these remedies are all about.”
Doctors add that whether or not the remedies work, they are all safe to use and pose no risk to health unless someone has an allergy.
Many of the remedies have been around for centuries and date back to medieval times.
They’ve been thrust back into the spotlight amid a resurgence in coughs and colds.