Fact Check: Steam Inhalation Can Burn You, Not COVID-19

Viral messages claiming the effectiveness of steam in killing the COVID-19 virus are still doing rounds. The latest one reads as follows:

“The hot water you drink is good for your throat. But this coronavirus is hidden behind the paranasal sinus of your nose for 3 to 4 days. The hot water we drink does not reach there. After 4 to 5 days this virus that was hidden behind the paranasal sinus reaches your lungs. Then you have trouble breathing.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still an evolving situation and scientists are looking for ways to prevent the spread of the virus. However, until now, steam inhalation has not been found to be one of the ways that can be used to prevent or cure COVID-19.

That’s why it is very important to take steam, which reaches the back of your paranasal sinus. You have to kill this virus in the nose with steam….”

Some of these messages carry the recommendation of Dr N N Kannappan. We found out that he is a sexologist from Madurai and there are no reported quotes from him suggesting the inhalation of steam for killing or preventing COVID-19.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other experts have, in fact, warned against inhaling steam citing that it can cause serious burn injuries and there is no evidence to support that it helps in preventing or killing COVID-19 virus.

The American Burn Association has also stated “3 seconds of exposure to 60°C water can cause a burn serious enough to require surgery.”

Dr Vikas Maurya, the director and head of the Department of Pulmonology at Fortis Hospital, Delhi had told the Quint, “Taking steam relieves stiffness, relaxes the throat. It can help patients get relief from some symptoms, but it cannot kill the virus”.

Also Read: Fact Check: Does Double Mask Provide Extra Protection Against COVID-19?


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