Hands holding phone with doctor talking and tiktok inspired background

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5 pieces of medical advice from TikTok doctors that have gone mega-viral

‘Ok that explains a LOT!’

 

Ljeonida Mulabazi

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Generally speaking, you should not get your medical advice from TikTok. With the popularity of the platform skyrocketing in recent years, there have been several reports of bad medical advice, which ranges from ineffective to downright harmful

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As of 2024, the app has over 1 billion active users worldwide, with a considerable portion of them being young adults and teenagers—a demographic especially vulnerable to the influence of social media trends, including health and wellness advice.

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However, it’s important to note that not all “TikTok doctors” are created equal. While some may be charlatans peddling false advice, other content creators are indeed licensed medical professionals who use their platforms to educate the public and spread awareness about health issues. 

Here are five of the most viral and beneficial pieces of medical advice shared by licensed professionals on TikTok.

Stop rubbing your eyes

@dreyetarib/TikTok brizmaker/AdobeStock (Licensed)
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Ophthalmologist Dr. Imane Tarib (@dreyetarib) has gone viral several times with videos reminding–and urging—people to stop rubbing their eyes to prevent permanent damage. 

According to Dr. Tarib, eye rubbing can cause conditions like keratoconus, and worsen symptoms like dark circles, wrinkles, and bloodshot eyes.

Her recent clip, which has garnered a staggering 19.9 million views, demonstrates how to relieve itchy eyes by using the soft tip of a finger around the eyeball instead of direct contact.

Essentially, you don’t want to be rubbing the cornea, but softly scratch the outer surface of the eye instead.

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“You’ll be shocked if you knew the number of patients that tell me this every single day,” Dr. Tarib says in response to a user’s comment, who writes, “Listen to her guys, I used to rub my eyes with all my strength I have keratoconus now.”

Don’t use paper straws

@drjoshredd/TikTok Ivanova Tetyana/ShutterStock (Licensed)

In a viral TikTok video, Dr. Josh Redd (@drjoshredd), a chiropractic physician, warned that paper straws might not be as safe as they seem—for you or the environment.

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“The glue that holds them together is extremely toxic. You’re better off just drinking out of the cup,” Redd stated.

His reasoning is that paper and bamboo straws often contain “forever chemicals” called PFAS, and there’s data to back up his claim.

A Belgian study confirmed that 18 out of 20 paper straw brands contained PFAS, which are linked to health issues like thyroid disease and cancer.

Dr. Redd emphasized, “While one straw is a small exposure, it’s part of the larger toxic soup that is modern life, and PFAS accumulate in the body.”

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Don’t enroll in Medicare Advantage plans

@christyprn/TikTok ANDREI ASKIRKA/ShutterStock (Licensed)

In a recent TikTok video, Registered Nurse Christy (@christyprn) advises viewers not to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans.

Christy shares, “I saw a billboard that said, ‘Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, and you’ll get a free gym membership!’ and it reminded me to give you guys your yearly reminder to not enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.” 

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She explains that while traditional Medicare is government-managed, Medicare Advantage plans are run by private insurance companies and often deny crucial healthcare services.

“A lot of healthcare workers don’t like these plans because they deny important care that traditional Medicare would have covered,” she says. 

You’re probably showering wrong 

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In a viral TikTok video, Dr. Nomzzy (@drnomzzy), a cosmetic dermatologist, advises viewers on the proper way to shower for skin health.

While many of us enjoy hot, long showers, this practice doesn’t do our skin any favors. 

“When I tell patients the best shower is one where you didn’t use a loofah, kept it less than 10 minutes, didn’t use boiling hot water, put shampoo on your scalp and conditioner on your ends & moisturized within 5 minutes of getting out,” he writes in the video’s text overlay, as he sarcastically nods in approval. 

Other medical professionals agree with Dr. Nomzzy’s claims. For example, dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey advises against using loofahs, stating that “[it] provides the perfect world for germs.” 

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Moreover, Healthline stated in an article that most dermatologists recommend between 5-10 minute showers, and anything longer than 15 minutes could lead to dry skin. 

Tell your doctor if your red hair is natural or not

@niiidental/TikTok

When TikToker @kaelagordon used a filter to see what she would look like as a redhead, it prompted Dr. Kunal Sood (@doctorsood) to share an important medical tip.

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He advises that people with red hair need to inform their anesthesiologist whether their hair color is natural or not, as they require about 20% more anesthesia due to a genetic quirk.

“Patients who have red hair require, on average, 20% more anesthesia,” Sood says.

According to PBS, we can attribute this to the MC1R gene. This is the gene responsible for red hair and fair skin, but it also affects pain perception.

Dentist Ben Kim (@niiidental) stitched Dr. Sood’s video, confirming this is also important for dental procedures. “Same thing with dentists—you need to let us know,” he says. “Thanks.”

 
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