6 TIKTOK/INSTAGRAM HEALTH TRENDS YOU NEED TO SKIP IN 2023
Social media platforms are constantly abuzz with new trends and challenges, inviting viewers to come along for the ride.
These platforms abound with every kind of content ranging from cat videos and dance choreography to travel guides and cooking tutorials.
Content creators never miss a beat on having a new viral trend or a life hack for you to try out. But when it comes to health advice, you can’t always take their word for it.
That is why we’ve compiled this list that explores the science behind the most popular, and probably the most dangerous, recent TikTok/Instagram health trends that you should skip this year.
This is a popular yet dangerous TikTok trend where gym-goers take pre-workout powders without mixing them with water first, hence the term dry scooping.
The TikTok dry scooping trend claims that dumping a scoop of pre-workout powder directly into your mouth allows your body to absorb the powder faster, which gives you a better workout.
However, there is no scientific evidence or proof backing these claims.
Most pre-workout powders contain caffeine (a stimulant that boosts energy), vitamins, and several amino acids.
Different pre-workout brands suggest you mix the powder with water and take it around half an hour before your workout. That helps your body slowly absorb the product and avoid any health risks.
Here are some of the risks of dry scooping pre-workout and why you shouldn’t try it:
- It floods your system with a high dose of caffeine which can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to skyrocket. That can lead to heart palpitations, irregular heartbeats, or even a heart attack.
- You might choke. Because of its dry and chalky texture, you may not be able to swallow the pre-workout powder, which can cause you to gasp for air and accidentally inhale the powder into your lungs.
- It can upset your stomach.
- You can injure yourself while working out because of overstimulation from the caffeine jolt.
You should definitely sit this one out. Simply mix your pre-workout supplement with water and avoid the health risks.
Viral TikTok and Instagram videos claim that sticking a clove of raw garlic up your nose can give you relief from congestion.
The videos show mucus running out of the nose after removing the garlic, suggesting that this is a safe way to get rid of a stuffy nose. But it isn’t.
Garlic has many health benefits. However, here’s why you should avoid putting garlic cloves up your nose:
- The smell of garlic can irritate the nose. Also, it may result in more mucus production, making your congestion worse. That’s why mucus flows out after removing the garlic. It’s because mucus builds up in the nose even more after you stick garlic in it.
- The garlic clove could become stuck up the nose causing nasal obstruction and perhaps requiring a visit to the emergency room.
- Garlic can also cause skin irritation, a rash, and severe allergic reactions.
Keep garlic away from your nose, and stick to using it in food instead.
Other videos that went viral on social media were of mucus fishing – people digging out mucus from their eyes using their fingers or cotton swabs. Just as with pimple-popping videos, people could not take their eyes away from the screen.
Despite the satisfaction you might feel from removing strands of mucus from your eye, you should steer clear of mucus fishing because it has the following downsides:
- The mucus can return in excessive amounts.
- You can become stuck in a vicious cycle. You pull mucus out of your eye, the eye produces even more mucus to protect itself, you remove more mucus, and so on. That is known as Mucus Fishing Syndrome.
- You can develop redness, itching, irritation, and tearing in the eyes, also known as Pink eye (conjunctivitis), especially if you remove the mucus using your fingers.
In brief, fishing mucus out of your eye is counterproductive and not worth the brief moments of satisfaction it gives.
Trending videos on Instagram and TikTok suggest mouth taping as a solution to mouth breathing during sleep. These videos claim that taping your mouth closed while you sleep can reduce snoring and improve bad breath.
Although it’s better to breathe in and out through the nose, mouth-taping at night can be dangerous.
In certain situations like stuffy nose, sinusitis, a deviated septum, or other conditions, people usually breathe through the mouth and not the nose while sleeping. Taping your mouth shut while sleeping will not resolve these nasal obstructions. Instead, mouth-taping could lead to
- More difficulty breathing during sleep
- Waking up at night because of obstructed breathing
- Skin irritation from the tape
Contact a healthcare provider if you’re having issues with snoring or breathing while sleeping. Your doctor can help you figure out why you’re breathing through your mouth and find more effective and safe solutions for sleeping with your mouth shut without using tape.
The “Honey Jelly” or “Honey Challenges” TikTok/Instagram trend gained a lot of traction, especially with people with a sweet tooth.
This challenge involves pouring honey into a small bottle or plastic tube and freezing it overnight. Because honey contains high levels of sugar and low amounts of water, it does not completely freeze. Instead, it turns into a jelly-like, chewable ice pop.
Consuming honey in moderation has numerous health benefits. Eating frozen honey is not exactly dangerous for your health if you don’t do it often.
However, the more popular a trend, the more people want to do it. Frozen honey pops contain high amounts of sugar. Eating a lot of these gummy-like honey ice pops can cause the following health risks:
- Increase your blood glucose levels
- Lower your blood pressure
- Upset your stomach
- It can also make you gain weight and increases your risk for obesity
Instead of frozen honey pops, you can add honey to your diet in healthier ways. If you’re craving healthy frozen snacks, you can try freezing raspberries or grapes instead.
This dangerous and potentially lethal TikTok challenge encourages people to take large doses of Benadryl, an antihistamine medication, to alter their mental state and experience hallucinations.
Taking excessive amounts of any medication, including Benadryl (diphenhydramine), can cause serious health problems and even death.
People who ingest too much Benadryl can experience scary side effects, such as hallucinations, racing heartbeats, low blood sugar, blurred vision, vomiting, agitation, and confusion. In some cases, a Benadryl overdose may cause brain damage and death.
You absolutely should not attempt this potentially deadly challenge.
It’s usually fine to try out a new trend and see what the fuss is all about. But when it comes to your health, always consult a healthcare professional and do your research before trying out any TikTok/Instagram health hacks.
- Common Ingredient Profiles of Multi-Ingredient Pre-Workout Supplements - PMC
- Self‐medication garlic‐induced irritant skin lesions – case series - PMC
- Mucus fishing syndrome
- The Female Vaginal Microbiome in Health and Bacterial Vaginosis - PMC
- Starches, Sugars, and Obesity - PMC
- Diphenhydramine - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf
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