Doctors warn of ‘dangerous’ claims by influencers on TikTok that raw potato juice has the power to cure strep throat.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that has caused public health concerns in the UK and US this winter after a deadly resurgence.
The bug can be fatal for children and the elderly if left untreated.
But videos that have racked up hundreds of thousands of views on TikTok have endorsed the idea that raw potato can treat Strep A.
Doctors have warned that promoting the idea is ‘dangerous’ because there is ‘no substantial evidence that potatoes treat strep throat’.
Not taking antibiotics allows the bacteria to spread to other parts of the body and can lead to a range of complications, including rheumatic fever and scarlet fever.
Blogger and author Allie Casazza has told her 12,200 TikTok followers that she cured her 14-year-old daughter’s ‘super bad Strep’ using homeopathy.
The video reached hundreds of thousands of views before being deleted.
WHAT IS POTATO JUICE?
Potato juice is simply the juice of raw potatoes.
It can be made by passing a potato through a juicer or simply grating it and collecting the juice.
She gave her daughter a potato juice to drink and claimed the infection was “completely gone within two hours”.
“If you squeeze a potato and drink the juice, it kills streptococci immediately,” she said.
Another video on Tiktok even suggested which potato varieties are best to use depending on whether you live in the US or the UK.
But nurses, doctors and paediatricians rushed to correct the claims, pointing out that Ms Casazza’s daughter’s infection could have cleared up on its own.
Dr Iddy Mughal, known as Dr Idz on TikTok, said it was “one of the most dangerous videos” he had ever received.
He warned in a video: ‘Do not treat your child with potato juice if they have severe throat symptoms.
“While potato juice seems to relieve a sore throat, symptom relief does not mean the bacterial infection is dead.
“If your child has strep throat, get it treated quickly and properly.”
Dr. Zachary Rubin, a pediatrician practicing in Chicago, added: “There is no substantial evidence that potatoes treat strep throat. Antibiotics treat strep throat.
However, there may be broader health benefits to drinking potato juice.
The vegetable is rich in fiber, vitamins A, B and C, as well as calcium, iron and copper.
READ MORE: You’ve been storing potatoes wrong all this time
For years, experts have warned us not to store potatoes in the fridge, saying it poses a cancer risk.
But potato juice doesn’t have the power to compete with the proper treatment for strep A – antibiotics.
Strep A or strep throat is caused by the group A Streptococcus bacteria. It is a relatively common childhood infection.
About 30% of children with sore throats have this highly contagious disease.
Although the vast majority of Strep A infections are relatively mild, the virus can sometimes lead to life-threatening rheumatic fever if left untreated.
Registered nurse Allie said on TikTok that “any delay in care because you drink potato juice can cause lifelong damage.”
The bacteria can, in exceptionally rare cases, cause a fatal condition called invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they are investigating an increase in iGAS infections in the United States.
The wave of cases came from September to November, earlier than usual.
One of the leading theories of the outbreak was that lockdowns, mask mandates and social restrictions were depriving children of exposure to life-saving germs that protect them from bacterial infection.
Americans may be particularly vulnerable to a Strep A crisis due to an ongoing national shortage of amoxicillin, a first-line antibiotic.
Every year, about 1,500 to 2,000 Americans die from Strep A, mostly older adults.