Social Media Health Trends Demystified – Indianapolis Monthly

Social media trend: insert raw garlic in the nostrils

As a decongestant?

Dr David Patterson, immunologist, Ascension Health

“When eaten in pasta or another dish, garlic is good for your body. It has a lot of great properties when ingested orally. But when you stick it in your nose, it is a very strong topical irritant to the skin of the nose. It creates a huge irritated response to the lining, what we call the mucous membrane. Your nose has mucus glands, so it’s going to dump all that mucus. It’s just a reaction to the irritant, not a medicinal thing. In fact, when you put garlic cloves in your nose, they can get stuck. You can irritate your nose and even get dermatitis, which is inflammation of the skin at the inside of your nose which would be very uncomfortable. You can cause trauma by sticking a foreign body there. There are simply better ways to open up your nasal passages, such as using Vicks VapoRub, which contains menthol. Or use a saline nasal spray, sinus rinse like NeilMed, a neti pot or even Sudafed. These are all ways to open your nose that are much safer than sticking garlic in it.


Dr. Kingsley on the social media trend of drinking aloe vera juice to clear acne.  She is in front of skincare in her white coat.

Trending on social media: drinking aloe vera juice

To clear acne?

Dr. Melanie Kingsley, dermatologist, IU Health

aloe stalks contain juice that can be ingested as a social media health trend for some.

“Beware. The people recommending these things on social media aren’t usually doctors. They’re influencers and they’re looking for views. We’ve been using aloe vera topically on the skin for centuries for the healing wounds. It has anti-inflammatory effects. By drinking it, people who claim to benefit from it may get an anti-inflammatory effect, which calms acne. Aloe also contains antioxidants, which can play a role in brightening and brightening the skin. But I would never say, ‘Hey, it’s a super fad. Aloe is all natural, go ahead and drink it’, because we don’t we still don’t know. More studies need to be done to verify that patients really get the results that some claim. I would probably say just keep your body hydrated. The core component of aloe, this gel, is 99 % water.The inner layer media is made of latex. If you ingest aloe latex, you are at risk of kidney failure. There is no one way to treat acne. Some people will react simply by washing their face. Some people need oral antibiotics and Accutane. Some people need salicylic acid. There are so many different components, and we have to tailor everyone’s diet to what works best for them. Often, even with over-the-counter medications – benzoyl peroxide, things like that – we can actually get a great response.


Dr. Shea in front of treadmills in a blue suit.  He discusses the healthy social media trend of an incline race.

The 12-3-30 workout

Walking on a treadmill set at 12% incline and 3 mph for 30 minutes to burn 30 pounds?

Dr. Richard Shea, cardiologist, Franciscan Health

“This workout actually has some benefits. It’s short. It’s simple. And it’s easy to remember: you walk into a gym, turn on a treadmill, complete your 30 minutes and you’re done. Because you’re on an incline, it’s very effective. It burns more calories than flat walking. You’re not going to run, so you won’t get knocked on your joints. , and it’s very good for building strength and endurance.Three miles per hour is usually what most of us would do while walking, but it’s the 12% incline that kills.I don’t think most of us can walk into a gym and do this today You will need to be able to walk for 30 minutes on a flat surface and then some degree of incline before you reach 12 %Like most trends, however, the value can be overstated.Laurent Giraldo [the influencer who created this workout] says she did this five days a week and was able to lose 30 pounds. I think that’s pretty optimistic. As a steady-state cardio workout, I think it’s a good idea. But remember, having an element of cardio and an element of strength training — and perhaps a major diet element — is what will get you both in shape and losing weight. Training is useful, but it’s not magic. However, it burns calories, so if it engages you, give it a try.


Dr. Fitzsimmons wears a stethoscope around his neck.  She discusses the social media trend of drinking lettuce water for better sleep.

Social media trend: drinking lettuce water

As a sleeping pill?

Dr. Margaret Fitzsimmons, family medicine, Hancock Regional Health

a head of iceberg lettuce is a social media health trend

“Lettuce is like 96% water, so there’s not much else in it. You have some vitamin A, C and K, some calcium. Iceberg lettuce doesn’t have any. not even much.Some of the other darker, greener, leafier lettuces will contain more vitamins and antioxidants, like selenium and beta-carotene.While these things are good for your body to ward off inflammation and keep your strong immune system, I can’t imagine it making you sleepy. And honestly, there just aren’t enough of those vitamins in lettuce, especially once you soak them in water, to be really useful. Now, the heat of water before going to bed can soothe you and warm you inside, and can make you sleepy. But you can just boil some lukewarm water. If you really want to solve this problem, there is something we call sleep hygiene , and that involves things like avoiding caffeine, turning off all lights before you go to bed, and turning off all your electronics for 30-60 minutes before you go to sleep to give your brain a rest. Maybe take a hot shower just to relax your muscles and your mind. If these measures do not help, people can try Benadryl at night. Melatonin is a natural hormone in our brain that is secreted in the evening to make us tired, and over-the-counter melatonin can be used. But anytime you think sleep is a problem, talk to your doctor, who will ask you some pointed questions to try to figure out what might be causing the problem.


Dr. Arno in his white coat with a stethoscope around his neck standing in front of the windows.  She talks about eating papaya seeds as a pest control.

Social Media Trend: Ingest Papaya Seeds

As a pest control?

Dr Janet Arno, infectious disease, IU Health

papayas are going viral as a social media health trend.

“Parasitic infection is an unusual problem in the United States. Most parasitic diseases are found outside the United States or in travelers to other places. People will bring in a stool sample where they see a thread or small egg-like entity and think it’s a parasite. Almost always, when we bring them to the lab, they are not. It’s food particles or things like that. For those who actually have a parasite, there is a study from Nigeria that showed a small anti-parasitic benefit from eating papaya seeds. But you have to validate it. It was not for adults. It was not in this country. If it was so useful, you’d think a pharmaceutical company would have picked it up and isolated a compound and sold it for a lot of money. They did not do it. Papaya seeds taste bad and can give you an upset stomach. This particular trend is not as dangerous as some, and people might think, If it doesn’t hurt me, why not give it a try? Because you’re only delaying the discovery of what you really have, and if it’s something important, you want to find out as soon as possible. If someone takes something for fun, it will only create problems later.


Dr. Hodges in a mint green polo shirt carrying his stethoscope.  He discusses taking zinc to shorten Covid infection.

Social Media Trend: Taking Zinc

to shorten a COVID infection?

Dr Timothy Hodges, internal Medicine, Community Health

zinc tablets are a social media health trend

“Zinc is useful in our body for over 100 enzymatic processes. It binds to the protein structure of an enzyme and helps it function. Some of these enzymes are useful for the functioning of the immune system. I don’t think we have rigorous studies indicating that zinc supplements shorten the duration of a COVID infection. But studies have shown that if you use the right type of zinc, you can significantly reduce the duration of a cold. There are different versions of zinc. Zinc gluconate is the one that seems to be best for helping your body fight viral infections. People should, however, be careful of one variety of zinc: intranasal, which has been linked to permanent loss of smell. The safest way to use zinc to boost your immune system is orally, either with a tablet or lozenge. Zinc acts as a protease inhibitor which inhibits viral RNA or DNA replication. When we use things like Paxlovid for COVID, that drug is also a protease inhibitor. Thus, zinc can both inhibit viral replication and also help your body’s immune system work more efficiently. However, zinc should never be an alternative to standard treatment. If you have COVID or a serious viral infection, you should always contact your doctor for a referral for primary treatment, such as Paxlovid. So maybe consider a supplement like zinc to relieve your symptoms.

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