Healthy You - Every Day

TikTok Trends to Try and Most to Avoid

The truth about parasite cleansing, berberine for weight loss, sea moss smoothies and more on The Healthiest You: Episode 29

TikTok Trends to Try and Most to Avoid

Just because it’s trending on TikTok doesn’t mean you should try it. There is a lot of health advice online that is misleading and even dangerous. We’re unpacking the good, the bad and ugly details about some of the “health hacks” TikTok creators won’t stop talking about like:

  • Parasite cleansing is just one of the detoxes that people claim will improve gut health. Using coffee as an enema – not in your favorite mug – is another.
  • Now nicknamed “Nature’s Ozempic,” the supplement berberine is supposedly the next “magic pill” for weight loss.
  • Not a fan of veggies? Add a greens powder or sea moss smoothie to your morning routine.
  • Fresher breath, clearer skin and more energy? Give chlorophyll water a try.
  • Got earwax buildup? Hydrogen peroxide can help with that. 

Listen to the latest episode of The Healthiest You podcast, where Becca Lynn from B104 discusses some of the top TikTok health trends with Elena Brinker, CRNP, internal medicine nurse practitioner with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).

Should you do a parasite cleanse? Is bed rotting a way to decompress? Can berberine support weight loss? Why are people putting garlic up their nose? Is sea moss good for you? Are greens powders necessary? We answer these questions and more on The Healthiest You podcast this month.

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The Healthiest You podcast is hosted by Becca Lynn from B104. In each episode, she interviews clinicians and experts across LVHN to learn practical health tips for everyday life – to empower you to be the healthiest you. While you’re balancing all the responsibilities – work, mom life (kids, dogs, cats and chickens included), family, friends and the never-ending to-do list – you deserve to take a moment of time to focus on your health.

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Podcast Transcript

Becca Lynn (00:00):

Should you do a parasite cleanse? Is bed rotting a good way to decompress? Can berberine support weight loss? All that and more on this episode of The Healthiest You.


From drinks to cleanses, coffee enemas to eating sea moss, there’s some crazy stuff and some crazy ideas out there on TikTok. Today we’re unpacking the top health trends from this [past] year, the good, the bad and the ugly. We’re focusing on women’s health and wellness on The Healthiest You podcast. Now, whether you’re on your way to work or you’re enjoying a cup of coffee, take this time to focus on your health. TikTok health trends – we’re going to talk about them with Elena Brinker. Elena is an internal medicine nurse practitioner with Lehigh Valley Health Network.


Elena, welcome to the show.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (00:45):

Thank you for having me.

Becca Lynn (00:46):

It’s so wonderful to have you here today. We’re going to cover a lot of very interesting trends today, some to try and most to avoid. Elena, have you ever tried anything you’ve ever seen on TikTok?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (00:57):

No, I haven’t.

Becca Lynn (00:58):

You haven’t?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (00:59):

And I would encourage everybody to question the science behind the health advice they hear on the internet, TikTok included, and I don’t think that TikTok advice should ever replace professional medical or nutritional advice.

Becca Lynn (01:13):

I tend to agree with you on that one, but we’re going to get into some of these things. Right now, parasites are a very popular topic. How do people get them and what is a sign that you might actually have them?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (01:25):

Parasitic infections can spread through dirty hands, drinking contaminated water or swimming in contaminated water. One might know they have a parasite if they have abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, weight loss, fatigue, some other unexplained symptoms. However, I wouldn’t want anybody to self-diagnose a parasite. They need to talk to their medical health professional, and they will run certain tests to determine if they have a parasite and what kind of parasite they have, because the treatment will depend on the type of parasite they have.

Becca Lynn (02:02):

So what is a parasite cleansing or a de-worming? That sounds like something we should be doing to dogs. Now, how would you do that? I’ve seen people claiming that they feel energized and they’re getting rid of these “creepy crawlies.” How are they doing that?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (02:19):

So first of all, not everybody needs any kind of cleanse for parasites because first we need to establish that a person does have a parasite truly. The symptoms might be abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, weight loss unexplained, and there could be other multiple symptoms as well. So I wouldn’t want anybody to self-diagnose themselves with a parasite because those symptoms can also be symptoms of something else.

Becca Lynn (02:46):

Of the flu.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (02:47):


Becca Lynn (02:47):

You were describing some things that could just be the flu, and so don’t jump to parasite cleansing.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (02:52):

So first of all, I would encourage everybody to seek medical advice if they suspect they might have a parasite and not specifically follow the de-worming procedures on TikTok. Also, what is de-worming itself? People who advocate for their parasite cleanses online, they say that a lot of people have parasites and we need to cleanse for that, which is not the case. A lot of times our body, as long as it’s a healthy immune system, we can get rid of parasites ourselves. Sometimes you need a medication for that as well, then that’s when you need to see the doctor and they’ll prescribe you medication based on the type of parasite you have.

Becca Lynn (03:34):

Oh, OK.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (03:35):

A lot of those cleanses like ParaGuard cleanse, they have proprietary blends. We don’t even know what it is. FDA [Food and Drug Administration] does not control over-the-counter supplements, so we don’t even know what the proprietary blend is, what the effect on the body it has. And one of the major side effects of the parasite cleanse like that could be getting rid of the good bacteria in the gut, which can create a whole other list of problems for the person.

Becca Lynn (04:04):

And especially if you’re going to drink something that you don’t necessarily know what’s in it and you don’t even know if you have a parasite.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (04:10):


Becca Lynn (04:11):

Seek medical attention if you think you have.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (04:14):


Becca Lynn (04:14):

This could be really bad. OK. Well, moving forward, you just mentioned some of the risks of destroying the good bacteria in your gut. How can we boost good bacteria in our guts?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (04:27):

Well, first and foremost, I would recommend increasing fiber in the diet, because fiber like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, they provide nutrition to our good gut-bacteria. Also taking probiotics like yogurt, fermented cabbage like sauerkraut.

Becca Lynn (04:46):


Elena Brinker, CRNP (04:47):

Kimchi, yes.

Becca Lynn (04:47):

OK. All right.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (04:48):

Those are all the good sources of probiotics as well.

Becca Lynn (04:51):

Oh, that’s wonderful.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (04:52):

And eating on top a lot of fiber will also promote good gut health.

Becca Lynn (04:57):

OK, that’s wonderful. And if you think you have a parasite, again, seek medical help.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (05:01):

Absolutely. Always ask medical advice before following a trend on TikTok.

Becca Lynn (05:05):

Another trend is a detox, and I’ve heard many different words when it comes to detox, but a detox coffee enema. Between you and me, Elena, the only place I want coffee is in my mug. So can you explain how this coffee enema would work and why people would be doing this?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (05:26):

Well, first of all, most people don’t need enemas, especially if self-administered. The only reason to have an enema would be severe constipation. Otherwise, enemas will not provide any significant benefit and potentially can actually be very dangerous to one’s health. Some cases of coffee enema were reported to end in death. A couple of cases were reported in literature. Yes, they can also be linked to colitis, which means inflammation, infection in the colon. And again, if coffee is too hot when it’s applied ...

Becca Lynn (06:01):

Oh. Sorry that just ...

Elena Brinker, CRNP (06:02):

And it can just cause burns. It’s a very dangerous trend.

Becca Lynn (06:05):

Absolutely. Don’t do this. Don’t do this, because if your arm is broken, you put it in a sling, but if that becomes injured and broken, you still have to use it.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (06:15):

Right. And absolutely there is no proven benefit to coffee enema and there are only risks associated with it. So that’s a trend I would not recommend following.

Becca Lynn (06:24):

I’m trying to understand why it would even be a trend. What are some of the influencers saying that a coffee enema would do?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (06:31):

I believe they claim that it can promote detox of the gut and the liver, and it’s not the case at all. Coffee is a great drink; it provides a lot of benefits.

Becca Lynn (06:40):


Elena Brinker, CRNP (06:41):

But not rectally. It should be in your coffee mug instead.

Becca Lynn (06:44):

That should definitely be on a T-shirt, I think, somewhere. So, an enema to help relieve constipation. And would you necessarily need an enema to detox your liver? Would that be something that you would consider doing?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (06:59):

Liver actually is a great human organ that does not need any help with detoxing. It is able to detox itself. It is able to regenerate itself. However, some herbal supplements like milk thistle have been proven to help with decreasing liver inflammation and stuff like that. But all we need to do for our liver is to just eat a healthy diet, avoid alcohol in excess, and liver will regenerate itself. It does not need any specific detox … procedures.

Becca Lynn (07:31):

Elena, what you’re saying is that we don’t necessarily need to do those detoxes and those cleanses.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (07:36):

Absolutely not. I would just recommend a healthy diet, lots of vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, and that will do the trick for the gut bacteria, for detox.

Becca Lynn (07:45):


Elena Brinker, CRNP (07:45):

And drink a lot of water.

Becca Lynn (07:47):

That I have actually read on the internet, and that I think, you just proved it. It’s true. You don’t necessarily need a detox and a cleanse. So again, coffee enemas, not the answer. If you have constipation, you probably want to seek out medical help or look at something other than a coffee enema. We’ve also learned that the liver will do all the detoxing that you need. Yet another myth, a magic pill for weight loss. I’ve seen lots of articles about this, the berberine trend and how it’s now being called nature’s Ozempic. What are your thoughts and do you think that there are benefits to taking berberine? What have you found and what have you learned?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (08:26):

Well, berberine and Ozempic are two very different things. Ozempic is not a natural substance; it’s a medication that is controlled by FDA. It’s approved by FDA. It has gone through multiple clinical trials and has shown benefit in controlling blood sugars and diabetes. What that does is it makes the person full after they eat. It makes the body produce more insulin by stimulating the GLP-1 enzyme. So that definitely has effect on losing weight and diabetes.

Becca Lynn (09:02):

It’s a proven medication.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (09:03):

It’s a proven medication.

Becca Lynn (09:04):

Versus berberine.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (09:06):

Berberine is a natural substance that is found in a lot of plants, like for example, barberry plant, goldenseal and many others. Berberine has been used for quite some time since ancient times for different purposes, antimicrobial purposes, controlling cholesterol levels, decreasing blood sugars. It does help with decreasing blood sugar a little bit by stimulating AMPK enzyme, which helps make the body more sensitive to insulin. So it helps with insulin sensitivity. It does promote a slight weight loss, but it’s very, very slight, insignificant, and definitely not as much as Ozempic. And there are really no good clinical trials proving the significant benefit of berberine.

Becca Lynn (09:53):

Oh, are there any risks?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (09:54):

Absolutely. Like with any natural substance, I would certainly encourage people to talk to their medical professional first, because berberine can affect other medications’ absorption. It can cause side effects if taken with other medications. It’s not a benign herb that you can just take regardless.

Becca Lynn (10:12):

But TikTok said it was, Elena.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (10:14):

No, it’s not the case. For berberine, for whatever reason, then you cannot take it for more than six months.

Becca Lynn (10:20):


Elena Brinker, CRNP (10:20):

So it’s definitely something to discuss with your doctor before starting taking it.

Becca Lynn (10:24):

Don’t just see an influencer taking it.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (10:28):

And also, I would like to warn pregnant people, because berberine taken during pregnancy can cause damage to the fetus. It can cause brain damage.

Becca Lynn (10:38):

Oh my goodness.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (10:38):

And if somebody is breastfeeding, it can cause liver damage and brain damage in the baby as well. So please consult the doctor before starting any supplements.

Becca Lynn (10:47):

I feel like that’s the disclaimer we need to say about all of these trends, is please consult your doctor before you try or do any of these things.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (10:53):

Right, it’s not that benign.

Becca Lynn (10:54):

Yeah, right. Some other trends that we’ve noticed, the blackout rage gallon, it sounds dangerous. What is it and why are people trying it?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (11:05):

It looks like it’s one of those newer terms. It’s popular among college students.

Becca Lynn (11:09):

Oh, college kids, OK.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (11:10):

College kids, college students. What they do is they try to avoid their drinks being spiked, first of all. So they prefer their personalized containers. They would take a big jug, like a gallon container. They would fill it halfway with water and add about a fifth of alcohol like vodka or any other strong alcohol in it. Then they add electrolytes there with some flavorings to the water, and this way they feel protected that they can drink all night and nothing will happen to them, because it’s a drink that they drink throughout the night.

Becca Lynn (11:43):

They made themselves, right.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (11:44):

They made it themselves; nobody spiked it. However, there are significant dangers with that type of drinking that they might not realize if they put a fifth of alcohol in a gallon jug. Well, that equates to about 17 drinks a night.

Becca Lynn (12:00):

As soon as you said fifth, I was imagining taking my bottle of vodka and pouring it into a jug.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (12:06):

Right, and who measures it.

Becca Lynn (12:06):

And drinking that all night.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (12:10):

So there’s a risk of binge-drinking with that because binge-drinking is defined as more than five drinks, four or five drinks a night, and if somebody drinks 17 drinks a night, even if you’re staying hydrated with water, it’s still a lot.

Becca Lynn (12:25):

It could equal alcohol poisoning.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (12:27):

Absolutely. And actually there were cases reported in college students, I believe it was University of Massachusetts, where 46 college students were hospitalized when they were participating in the drinking challenge with BORGs. They call them BORGs.

Becca Lynn (12:42):

Oh, the blackout rage.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (12:44):


Becca Lynn (12:44):

Yeah, OK.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (12:45):

So they were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning. And no wonder, because it’s a lot of alcohol in a big jug.

Becca Lynn (12:51):

Just because you’re watering it down doesn’t mean that it’s not going to do damage.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (12:54):

Absolutely. The liver cannot process more than one ounce of alcohol an hour, and they’re drinking how many drinks per night.

Becca Lynn (13:02):

That just makes my stomach upset thinking about this, and it also makes me worried about my teenager ever going off to college. OK, alternative ways to drinking responsibly in that type of setting, because I understand the reasoning behind it, wanting to keep your drink safe and knowing that it’s not being spiked. What would you suggest as an alternative?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (13:21):

Yes. So if somebody wants to be safe, if they’re not sure who made the drink and it’s not safe maybe to drink in the surroundings at the party, then of course it’s safer to have your own personalized container, but not a gallon-sized container, of course. And try to count the number of drinks you’re having per night. It’s not recommended to have more than three drinks on one occasion for males and more than two drinks for women. And actually a standard drink is considered one glass of wine or one beer can.

Becca Lynn (13:52):


Elena Brinker, CRNP (13:53):

Or 1.5 ounces of strong spirits.

Becca Lynn (13:57):

Another drink concoction that people are raving about lately is fire cider. The ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, onions, hot peppers, horseradish and honey. It supposedly boosts your immune system and it helps with digestion. Is this true, Elena?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (14:15):

That’s an excellent question. Apple cider has been used for many decades. It’s supposed to promote blood sugar control. It has some antimicrobial qualities. It can worsen acid reflux. So for people with acid reflux, I would recommend using with caution. Other ingredients can also be very beneficial by themselves. For example, garlic has a lot of antimicrobial properties, but not so much a proven benefit to use for treating cold symptoms, but it’s a great produce you can add to your diet. That’s actually very beneficial for the gut bacteria. It’s just a good vegetable.


Then onions are another good source of good fiber. They have some nutritional properties that are good for you as well. Horseradish does not really have any proven benefits, but it’s another food item you can certainly consider. Honey can have some antimicrobial properties as well. Hot peppers have some vitamin C. They have some ingredients called capsaicin, which can help, again, with antimicrobial properties. However, there is no proven benefit in the literature from taking apple cider. So if somebody wants to go ahead and give it a try, that might not be completely a no-no to do. They can certainly try that. But again, people with acid …

Becca Lynn (15:37):

Acid reflux.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (15:37):

Acid reflux, yeah, they should use it with caution.

Becca Lynn (15:39):

Sometimes drinking that much apple cider vinegar would probably irritate your acid reflux. And of course, always talk with a doctor or a medical professional before you put this kind of thing into your body. While we’re continuing to talk about things that we’re drinking, alkaline water, should I drink alkaline water or should we just stick to plain water? Is there a difference?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (16:02):

Absolutely. So plain water has a neutral pH of around seven and alkaline water has a higher pH, usually between eight and 10. And as far as what’s best to drink, plain water is always best. It will hydrate you. There are no known [additional] benefits to drinking alkaline water, unless you have acid reflex; it might be helpful in that situation.

Becca Lynn (16:25):

Oh, well that’s good to know.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (16:26):

Otherwise, your body will neutralize the acid before it even goes anywhere else, unless you have kidney problems, lung problems. So for most of us, there is no additional benefit to drinking alkaline water versus regular water. It’s better, I guess, than nothing. You can drink it if you want.

Becca Lynn (16:42):

If you want to.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (16:44):

But plain water is best.

Becca Lynn (16:46):

So you don’t really need to. And if you really feel that [there are] health benefits, again, seek medical profession.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (16:51):

Absolutely. Because some people should not be drinking alkaline water if you have problems with the kidneys. Otherwise, kidneys may not process that alkaline content and that can create problems.

Becca Lynn (17:01):

Thank you so much. Again, just because it’s on the internet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. What about chlorophyll water? I remember learning about chlorophyll in biology. There’s a thing called chlorophyll water? And it’s promising fresher breath, and that way you don’t have to eat as many vegetables?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (17:17):

Well, chlorophyll water is actually, I think, one of the newer trends as well. And I would say it’s pretty harmless. It could provide some benefit to people who are not eating enough vegetables and fruits. It can provide some vitamins for us. Liquid form of chlorophyll is easily absorbed. So if somebody wants to give it a try, sure, why not. However, just again, talk to your family doctor or medical provider because it might, again, affect the medications that you’re taking.

Becca Lynn (17:48):

OK. What are some of the side effects or benefits of it? And I’m super curious about what it looks like. Is it like drinking algae?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (17:57):

Yes, that’s exactly what it is. It’s green.

Becca Lynn (18:01):

OK, all right. It’s green.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (18:01):

And the benefits actually, some proven benefits were mostly affecting the skin. The skin can be more radiant, so why not give it a try then? It can help heal wounds faster. So there are quite a few benefits to chlorophyll, but remember that you can also get chlorophyll from green leafy vegetables like spinach.

Becca Lynn (18:20):

So eating a salad could do the same thing.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (18:22):

Absolutely. It’s actually going to be better because it’ll provide you with the fiber your body needs, other vitamins and minerals, and the same benefit as chlorophyll water.

Becca Lynn (18:31):

OK. Elena, there seems to be a powder for everything these days, and I see the esthetic morning-routine videos where influencers must start their days with a greens drink that is mixed together in a very cute little glass cup. What is the scoop on these green powders? Get what I did there? A scoop, little green powders. Yeah? What’s going on with the green powders?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (18:54):

Well, I think the idea behind the greens powder is to get a lot of nutrients in a nice and easy way. You put it in your container like a smoothie container and you drink it so you get already a lot of nutrients in you without really eating a lot, consuming a lot of calories. However, a lot of those brands that sell green powders, they have proprietary blends.

Becca Lynn (19:14):

Like you mentioned before, we don’t know what’s in it.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (19:16):

Right, we don’t know what’s in it. So they do have some benefits because if it’s green extract from green leafy vegetables or herbs, it might be beneficial. It may provide some nutrients that will be beneficial for those who cannot eat vegetables for whatever reason, they might not digest vegetables. So for somebody it might have a benefit, but also understand the risk because what is in the proprietary blend?

Becca Lynn (19:42):

Why not just talk to your general practitioner?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (19:45):

Always the way to go before starting taking anything. And any supplements should not replace a balanced diet. Eating vegetables, fruits, vegetables, fiber is always the best for your body. Better than any supplement. Supplements should never replace the diet.

Becca Lynn (19:59):

Good to know, Elena, thank you so much. Now, when it is time for me to get the greens, what are the best ways that my nutrition can be bolstered in addition to eating my greens? Is there anything else I could add to my diet?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (20:14):

You can certainly add healthy fats like olive oil, that will help some essential vitamins like vitamin K, vitamin D to get absorbed in your body better. Otherwise, they might not be water-soluble, they are fat soluble. So adding healthy oils, fats to your diet, will also help.

Becca Lynn (20:34):

Elena, you have been giving us so many great answers, and of course I have to talk about the scooping, the dry scooping your workout, your pre-workout powder. It apparently makes you work faster and you can power through. But I’ve also heard that it’s a choking hazard and has even landed some people in the emergency room. Should we really be avoiding this? What should we be paying attention to? What are your thoughts on this trend?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (20:59):

Well, I think there is a reason why there are instructions to dilute the drink in a certain amount of water before consuming it. Following the trend, people might think that just by taking the scoop all at once, they will get more benefits faster. However, they need to realize that some ingredients, or some powders, contain caffeine. And if they chug it down really fast and they can develop palpitations, issues with a heart, anxiety, shakiness, other unpleasant symptoms. It can be dangerous also to even take any kind of powder so fast because you can choke on it. It can cause asthma flares. So it’s certainly not the trend to follow. It’s a very dangerous trend.

Becca Lynn (21:42):

I love how you said there’s a reason the directions say to dilute this into water, that again, that makes a lot of sense. Why are people eating sea moss? Some of these things, I can’t believe that we’re saying these things out loud. Kim Kardashian has even added it to her smoothies. Why would we be eating sea moss and adding it to smoothies?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (22:05):

Well, sea moss is actually full of nutrients.

Becca Lynn (22:07):

Oh, that’s good.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (22:08):

Yes. It has vitamins, minerals, it can promote, again, skin health, so the skin can be more glowy, more healthy looking. It can promote the good fiber for the gut, for the good bacteria. And again, vitamins, minerals, it’s actually a good nutritious product to have. People actually have been eating sea moss for centuries.

Becca Lynn (22:31):

I didn’t know that.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (22:31):

And I think it’s just getting in a health trend right now because of Kim Kardashian maybe, or somebody else. But it’s actually a pretty good way to get nutrition in. However, if you want to be healthy and sea moss is quite expensive and you can’t afford it, that’s absolutely fine, because you don’t need sea moss to be healthy again. You can eat vegetables and fruits, and sea moss can be just like an extra ...

Becca Lynn (22:55):

Like a bonus.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (22:56):

Like a bonus to provide you with more vitamins and minerals. But you don’t need to have it.

Becca Lynn (23:00):

Don’t need to have it.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (23:02):

And of course with anything, you need to talk to your doctor, because again, there might be interactions with medications and some other side effects related to it as well.

Becca Lynn (23:09):

OK. So food and drinks, we’ve kind of covered some of those. Other trends for hygiene and for beauty. TikTok says that you can use hydrogen peroxide to remove your ear wax. How would that work?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (23:23):

Well, actually, hydrogen peroxide has been used for cleaning ears.

Becca Lynn (23:27):

Oh, that’s great.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (23:28):

Yes. The only thing is how you do it. People on TikTok sometimes do just undiluted. They pour it in the ear and they feel the bubbling sensation and they think that that’s the way to go. But it’s not because it can cause burns. It has to be diluted 50% water, 50% hydrogen peroxide. In that case it’ll be safe. But it’s always better again, to talk to your health care professional, especially if you’re getting a lot of ear wax. It could be a condition that would need to be addressed. And they can also provide you with prescription eardrops.

Becca Lynn (24:01):

All right. So don’t just pour the hydrogen peroxide down your ears.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (24:02):

Don’t just pour peroxide without diluting it.

Becca Lynn (24:07):

So we’re not recommending that one to anyone.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (24:09):

I would not.

Becca Lynn (24:10):

No. A lot of the things that we’ve been discussing have a lot to do with cold and flu season. So that leads me to talk about nasal sprays and nasal irrigation to help get rid of a stuffy nose. But what about the trend of putting garlic up your nose to relieve nasal congestion?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (24:27):

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe that some people would do that, but unfortunately some do, they follow that health advice. There are some videos out there of people putting garlic up their nose, and when they take it out there is a long streak of snot coming out. However, this is not due to garlic relieving any congestion at all. Garlic has antimicrobial qualities, they have been proven, but not stuck up the nose, because it can cause a lot of irritation. And what normally happens in those videos is when the garlic blocks the drainage coming out of the nose, then of course after a few minutes sitting there, when the garlic comes out, it just starts running down the nose and out.

Becca Lynn (25:08):

So it’s really just blocking it. And then when you take the garlic out, it just, what?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (25:12):

It’s just like a physical obstruction in the video.

Becca Lynn (25:16):


Elena Brinker, CRNP (25:16):

And of course, the risk of irritation to the nose is pretty dangerous. I would not advise to anyone to do anything like that. Plus, there is always a risk of the garlic to be dislodged in the nose.

Becca Lynn (25:27):

And getting stuck in your nose.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (25:29):

Yeah, getting stuck in the nose, and then people would need to go to seek medical help to have it removed. So it’s a very dangerous trend; I do not recommend it. There are other ways that can help with decongesting.

Becca Lynn (25:40):

And as with all of these trends, speak with your health care professional before you even attempt to do something like this.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (25:46):

That would be my advice.

Becca Lynn (25:47):

I like that advice, that’s good stuff. I’m sure you would probably advise, too, that maybe we escape to somewhere warm to get rid of the winter blues. And I really wish I was at the beach, but I can daydream. I can daydream about the warmth and looking forward to that summer glow. Sunscreen contouring. I’ve never heard of it, so obviously Elena, I’m going to ask you, what is sunscreen contouring?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (26:12):

Well, it’s another very dangerous trend on TikTok. The idea behind the contouring with sunscreen is to strategically apply sunscreen in certain locations on the face or abs to get a different level of tan, like tan lines. And this way I believe people think that they can avoid makeup because they’ll be already contoured for the day without wearing any makeup, or abs will magically show up on their abdomen by again applying certain different tones of tan. However, they need to realize that it’s very, very dangerous because if they avoid putting sunscreen in certain areas, they can get sunburns, which can potentially also lead to skin cancers, which could be very dangerous. And even if a lower level of sunscreen applied at certain areas and then higher level to the other areas, then they need to realize that first of all, the tan areas covered with a higher SPF, they will be better protected, so they’ll stay younger for longer.

Becca Lynn (27:19):

And the parts that are used as a lower SPF are going to age quicker?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (27:24):

Right, absolutely. Plus, we can’t control how the sun will hit our face and what’s going to happen. And then you might end up with [a] very patchy face anyway. So what was even the point of doing it? And it’s very dangerous, again, because you’re exposing your skin to the sun, potentially causing skin cancer.

Becca Lynn (27:41):

That is one of the biggest things that I try to tell any younger woman that I tend to meet is SPF, SPF, SPF. please protect your skin. And coming from a generation where we spent way too much time out in the sun unprotected, I thoroughly am embracing it now as we get older. So that would not be a trend that you would recommend?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (27:59):

Absolutely not.

Becca Lynn (27:59):

All right, so now we move on to … bed rotting. To me, bed rotting just means I’m going to waste the day away in bed and not do anything. But apparently this is a new wave of self-care. What is bed rotting and how would it impact your self-care, your mental health, or your sleep pattern for that matter?

Elena Brinker, CRNP (28:19):

I think it’s one of the newer trends out there. It’s very popular amongst the young people, Generation Z, that think bed rotting is a way to take care of themselves, self-care. If they’re stressed at work, there’s a lot going on, they need to take time for themselves and spend time in bed doing nothing. And occasionally it can really provide self-care because we need to disconnect from the world, take time for ourselves, do something that will let our bodies rest, regroup and feel better.

Becca Lynn (28:51):

Right. This is a good thing. I’ve been doing this and I didn’t even know it was called bed rotting.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (28:56):

But you need to remember that there are a few nuances with that, because if it’s something that happens on a routine basis for too long, more than one day at a time, then we need to question if there is something else going on. Is it a way to avoid reality? Is it a sign of some kind of mental illness like depression or anxiety? And also, no, I would never recommend anybody to spend the whole day in bed without getting up again. Preventing blood clots, you need to get moving to get the blood going. Also, you can’t eat in bed. Bed should be only something …

Becca Lynn (29:30):

Says you. Sorry, I shouldn’t have interrupted you like that. No, the bed should just be for sleeping.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (29:36):

Bed should only be for sleeping. Otherwise, when it’s time for you to go to bed and fall asleep, the body will be confused and not know if you wanted to watch a movie or fall asleep, then it could create problems with the sleep as well.

Becca Lynn (29:47):

Oh, that’s a perspective that I didn’t even think about. Elena, we have covered a lot today and I feel that we’ve only scratched the surface of some of the trends that are going around on TikTok and all the other social media sites. But I really do appreciate you giving us insight into some of these and pretty much telling us that just because it’s on TikTok and on the internet does not mean that we should be doing this. Thank you so much for your time.

Elena Brinker, CRNP (30:12):

Thank you for having me.

Becca Lynn (30:14):

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