There are a lot of ‘cures’ doing rounds on the internet that claim to prevent or treat Covid-19 and one of the most common ones has been steam therapy.   

According to the claim, steam inhalation/steam therapy is capable of killing or destroying the coronavirus or preventing its replication but, is that really true?

Here’s what experts have to say.

It’s important to understand that steaming is useful for relieving congestion or cold in the upper respiratory tract but, it does NOT help with pneumonia or any other lung condition. 

It can only bring relief for Covid patients who have symptoms similar to that of a common cold like a stuffy nose and sinusitis. But, it can’t ease respiratory problems or ‘kill’ the coronavirus.

Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that steam inhalation can prevent Covid-19. So, let’s try to dig a little deeper and understand what steaming actually does? 

During an infection, blood vessels along the lining of the nasal passages, tract, and sinuses become irritated and inflamed.

And, this leads to the secretion of mucus that causes congestion. Inhaling steam aids in diluting the mucus and lubricating the lining, allowing temporary relief in breathing. The steam can also help in easing irritation and inflammation.

In an interview with The Print, Gagandeep Kang, a virologist and professor of microbiology at Christian Medical College, Vellore said:

Steaming is helpful in relieving congestion in the nose and upper respiratory tract. But it does nothing whatsoever to prevent Covid or treat the virus or affect the progression of the disease. Additionally, any respiratory or breathing distress itself cannot be relieved by steaming.

As per a report by Reuters, steam is not recommended as a treatment for the coronavirus by either the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). Steam inhalation is only used as a home remedy for colds and upper respiratory tract infections.

What’s the ideal way to do steam therapy?

Ideally, a person’s head should 12 inches away from the water and slow deep breaths must be taken for about 2 to 5 minutes.

Can steaming cause any harm?

Yes, steaming can cause scalding of skin and airways if it’s not done in the right manner. It is also advisable to do steaming in isolation or it may lead to further spread of the infection. 

So in conclusion, steam therapy can provide some kind of relief from congestion but, it’s definitely not a cure for Covid-19.