health

Gwyneth Paltrow gets the flu. Finds a very Goopy remedy, naturally.

Image: Getty.

Being sick with a cold or flu sucks. Your head hurts, your nose is blocked, your body aches.

So we can understand Gwyneth Paltrow‘s frustration – and desperation – to shake it off. Last week, the actress and Goop founder posted a bare-faced selfie shadowed by a bright red light.

“All contagion aside… Going to hit it with heat #fluday5 #infraredsauna #clearlightsaauna #iwilltryanythingatthispoint,” she captioned the photo.

Paltrow took to an infra-red sauna to get rid of the flu. Image: Instagram.

From sex dust to vagina steaming, health advice from Paltrow is nothing new. She - along with a number of other celebrities - regularly share health recommendations and treatments via social media. But just because she's passionate about health and wellbeing doesn't make her advice qualified. In this case in particular experts are warning people not to follow suit.

The flu and arising complications kill 2,500 Australians every year, so it's not something to take lightly - and with 1.3 million followers on Instagram alone, Paltrow's ill-advised recommendation has the potential to get dangerously far.

While there is some evidence that using saunas may reduce or prevent cold symptoms due to improved drainage, there are still a number of concerns with using this method.

The influenza virus itself is extremely dangerous and spreads by air droplets from one person to another by coughing and sneezing, meaning leaving your house during the highly contagious period is not advised.

"It's our first recommendation for an unwell individual to avoid public places and when possible to be isolated at home for five to seven days to avoid potential epidemic," says Sapphire Family Medical Practice's Dr Dasha Fielder. (Post continues after gallery.)

With symptoms including fever sweats, sore throat and muscle pain, a key treatment measure for the flu is to maintain hydration - something hard to do in a sauna.

"When we have fever, our basal metabolic rate increases so we sweat and lose water, therefore it is imperative to maintain adequate oral fluid intake, drink at least three litres of water per day and avoid being in the sun or other hot places," says Dr Fielder.

Instead of fancy treatments, she advises using simple medication such as paracetamol for symptom control, keeping hydrated, resting - and staying away from celebrity health advice full stop.

"It has become a common and I feel dangerous trend for celebrities to use their media platform to provide advice on topics beyond their expertise.  Patients should be aware and get medical opinion from appropriate health professionals with family doctor being one of the most reliable first ports of call," she says.

Do you think celebrities should stop giving out health advice?

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