TikTokers put potatoes in socks. What Medical doctors Say

An age-old cold remedy that’s now going viral on TikTok consists of just one ingredient: a potato.

Slip your sock on at night and rumor has it the piece turns up black in the morning, say people on TikTok, absorbing all ailments from your body and leaving you sane.

However, doctors do not buy it.

“There’s not a lot of evidence that potatoes draw out toxins or help you get over a cold faster,” said Dr. Karla Robinson told WFMY, adding that there is no scientific evidence to back up claims about potatoes.

A well-known doctor on TikTok, Tommy Martin, also commented on a video of a mother showing how to use the remedy on her child.

Martin said he’s glad the mother thought the trick worked on her daughter, but warned parents about the dangers of second-hand home remedies.

“No judgment on this mom, so grateful your child is doing better,” he wrote on his TikTok. “While this has worked for you, but luckily for others, this is not a substitute for seeing a doctor if your child is ill. Stay safe this breath season.”

Even without scientific backing, anecdotal evidence of the “health hack” has saturated TikTok and had parents swearing by its effects.

“I would say it helped relieve my symptoms and I didn’t have a fever afterwards… so I think it helped. Is it a cure? No,” said a potato tester on TikTok. “There’s no scientific evidence that potatoes in your socks can actually heal you. But it must have (some) impact as a lot of people have said good things about it.”

The cure may date back to the Middle Ages during the bubonic plague and may date back even further, having roots in ancient Chinese medicine, WFMY reported.

“I don’t think it’s going to harm you, but it probably won’t bring many benefits,” Robinson told WFMY.

People who catch a cold or a virus should see a doctor if they experience any of these symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Symptoms that worsen or do not improve
  • Fever greater than 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit lasting more than three days
  • Recurrent fever after a fever-free period
  • shortness of breath
  • gasping
  • Severe sore throat, headache or sinus pain

Children should see a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in newborns up to 12 weeks
  • Rising fever or fever lasting more than two days in a child of any age
  • Severe symptoms such as a headache, sore throat or cough
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • earache
  • Extreme Awkwardness
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • loss of appetite

Alison Cutler is a National Real Time Reporter for the Southeast at McClatchy. She graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and previously worked for The News Leader in Staunton, VA, a USAToday affiliate.

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