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.”
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.