COVID-19: Doctors in India warn against steam inhalation as home remedy

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Doctors said scalding of airways can instead happen.

As India’s Covid-19 cases continue to rise, a new “remedy” has surfaced on India’s social media.

According to posts by Twitter users online, steam inhalation has been recommended as a treatment for individuals with mild or asymptomatic symptoms of Covid-19 in home isolation.

Bommarabettu Laxmijanardhana Santhosh, a politician from India’s current ruling party, shared images of what appeared to be police officers in the midst of a mass steam inhaling arrangement.

An article by Health Analytics Asia reported that viral messages purporting the benefits of steam inhalation in preventing Covid-19 have been circulating in many WhatsApp chats.

One such message allegedly read: “According to doctors, Covid-19 can be killed by inhaling steam from the nose and mouth, eliminating the Coronavirus. If all the people started a steam drive campaign for a week, the pandemic will soon end.”

Debunked

The Times of India reported in 2020 that doctors have debunked the use of steam inhalation, and warned that the “remedy” could do more harm than good.

Satyanarayana Mysore, who works as a doctor from Manipal Hospitals in Bengaluru, told the Times of India that steam inhalation was “very unscientific”.

He added that patients have been coming in as a result of respiratory symptoms not due to Covid-19, but due to the scalding of airways.

According to Satyanarayana, more cases of damaged airways and cases of worsening asthma symptoms were observed following a rise in the practice as fears over the virus spiked.

Thomas Mathew from St John’s Medical College Hospital emphasised that masks, physical distancing, and hand washing were still the best ways to guard against the virus.

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Citizen Atare is a Ghanaian who hails from the Upper East Region. He is an ICT professional working at the University of Ghana, Legon. Citizen Atare is an amateur freelance writer and blogger for over 20 years, who likes to research into everyday lifestyle issues and situations, politics, and cultural practices to write about to educate and also entertain his readers. He is a highly creative and motivated, highly inquisitive, open minded and to an extent risk-taking with a high visual acumen. He is a dreamer who isn’t afraid to break creative barriers. He is also a passionate aviation, tech and motoring enthusiast with a lot of knowledge to share and a private researcher. He has no formal education or certificate in journalism, but the hunger to know more and do more, backed by an impressive work portfolio is what drives him to write the things he knows best for his numerous online fans. Citizen Atare is married to Margaret and they both live in Accra with their lovely daughter Zoey. His hobbies include reading, listening to very good music; especially jazz, writing, watching action, sci-fi and adventure movies, travel and site seeing and swiming. He likes eating fufu and palm nut soup, but prefers boiled rice and kontomire stew with agushie more. Contact: pnawurah@gmail.com

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