health-related fact checks

MISSING CONTEXT: Honey and flour patches over the back can alleviate cough

Rappler.com
MISSING CONTEXT: Honey and flour patches over the back can alleviate cough
(1st UPDATE) There is no scientific basis for the claim that honey and flour patches placed on the back can address any of the causes of cough
At a glance
  • Claim: Honey and flour patches over the back can alleviate cough.
  • Rating: MISSING CONTEXT
  • The facts: There is no scientific basis for honey and flour patches over the back to be able to address any of the causes of cough. 
  • Why we fact-checked this: The video with this claim has over 840,000 views, 900 comments, and over 7,900 reactions.

(Editor’s Note: We initially rated this claim as FALSE. This has been updated.)

Complete details

A Facebook post claims that a mixture of honey, flour, and oil when placed over the back can alleviate cough. 

The poster added in the caption, “Disclaimer: Do at your own risk, always seek medical advise for infants.”

This claim is missing context. 

While the poster put a disclaimer that this was based on her experience, there is no scientific evidence on how a plaster made with honey, flour, and oil when applied to the skin can help you alleviate cough. 

Although honey has documented effectiveness in alleviating cough, according to the Mayo Clinic, this was taken orally in the form of tea or hot beverage, and not as a plaster applied to the skin. 

The human skin is the body’s first line of defense. Because the main function of the skin is to keep substances out, a plaster made from these ingredients will most likely not be absorbed into the body in amounts substantial enough for any therapeutic effect.

It is also highly unlikely that an infection in your lungs and upper airway can be drawn out through the skin and the other layers, (pleura, fascia, muscle, and fat) that surround it and be absorbed by these plasters. These layers are quite thick and substantial and do not typically allow for the passage of substances through them.

Cough is usually caused by an infection, allergies, or a chronic illness like asthma. These conditions are caused by problems in your respiratory system which comprise your lungs and your upper airway (throat and nasal cavities). 

If you have a cough, it is best to consult your physician to avoid your condition from getting worse. – Renzo Arceta/Rappler.com

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