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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ariane Sohrabi-Shiraz

Doctor debunks bizarre potato cold and flu hack - and issues warning about trying it

Some people are claiming that a bizarre new hack involving a potato can relieve the symptoms of cold and flu.

There's currently a shortage of cough and cold medicines in the UK due to ministers' "lack of planning," according to pharmacy leaders.

Most people already know a few so-called cold remedies that have been passed down through generations, and one involves putting raw potatoes under your feet.

According to devotees, the root vegetable has the ability to "draw out the cold" from a person's body, leaving them feeling energised.

The "potato sock" trend has gone viral on TikTok, with various people trying it out for themselves – and some claim it works.

People are putting sliced potatoes in their socks (stock image) (Getty Images)

The hack involves slicing a raw potato and putting it under your feet using a sock to hold it in place. According to those who believe it works, it changes colour, showing that it has drawn out the cold from the body.

Recently, a mum-of-five called Laura Kathleen tried out the hack herself. Uploading a video to TikTok, she revealed that she had tested it out for two nights, after spotting the trend on the video sharing app.

She tested it out by putting slices on both her, and her poorly daughter's food, and showed that her daughter's one looked drastically different in colour.

Laura said: "It is drawing something out and if anyone could tell me what it is I'd love to know."

Speaking about her daughter's symptoms, she claimed: "I have done this for the past two nights and her cough has not gone away, but it never got worse since I started doing this, it never ramped up!"

The Mirror asked Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, about the trend, which she said is an "ancient folklore custom that is thought to have originated in the Middle Ages around the time of the Bubonic Plague".

She added: "At this time, no one understood anything about bacteria and viruses."

Unsurprisingly, there is no scientific evidence that this would help cure a viral respiratory infection, and putting a potato on the skin would have "zero therapeutic benefit".

Instead, Dr Lee recommends using more "successful ways of treating cold and flu symptoms – such as steam inhalations, Vicks inhalations, hot honey and lemon drinks, and paracetamol and/or ibuprofen".

Dr Lee added: "In my view, you are far more likely to improve cold and flu symptoms with these tried and trusted measures than 'cooking' a slice of potato inside your sock overnight.

"I suspect the fact that one potato changed colour and the other didn't was that the two slices naturally contained different levels of natural, bioactive substances and that the mother was not as hot overnight as the child."

Instead, you could eat a cooked potato, because it's full of vitamin C and will give your immune system a boost, Dr Lee suggests.

She also adds a word of caution to those who are trying out the potato hack, as potato allergies do exist.

She added: "Doing this could result in a flare-up of eczema on the sole of the foot or even anaphylaxis. If you are tempted to do this do a test patch with a small piece of potato applied to your wrist overnight first and see if there is a skin reaction in the morning. It is not a suitable treatment for babies and small children who have extra sensitive skin so I would not advise this for small children."

Will you be trying out the 'potato sock'? Let us know in the comments below.

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