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Chronicle Live
Ariane Sohrabi-Shiraz & Sonia Sharma

Doctor issues warning over TikTok potato trend people are using to relieve cold and flu symptoms

A doctor has issued a warning over a bizarre trend of using a potato to relieve symptoms of cold and flu.

The trick involves putting raw potatoes under your feet and people are saying 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.

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.

Read More: This Morning doctor shares six natural remedies for cold and flu you can try at home

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."

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."

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