There are various home remedies advise people to boil water, sometimes with other ingredients, then place their face over the steam and inhale in order to kill or eliminate the coronavirus. Some posts advise the user to do this for 15 minutes or however long they can stand.
One post claims: “Steam heat treatment for respiratory viruses. A natural remedy that kills Coronavirus, Influenza, Rhinovirus.” and posts like this are available all over the internet.
Does it actually work?
Neither the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest steam therapy with any ingredient as a cure for the coronavirus. A representative from the CDC told Reuters that he was not aware of any scientific studies that show steam therapy helps with the coronavirus.
Steam therapy can help thin mucus as a supplemental course of action to give some relief when grappling a cold or flu but overall, scientific studies showing evidence of its usefulness are lacking.
Additionally, the practice brings risks.
A study published by the Spanish Pediatrics Association notes: “It is apparent that regardless of how SIT [Steam Inhalation Therapy] is applied it carries a risk of burn injury. The usual technique of covering the head with a towel over a pan filled with hot water is dangerous due to the steam, the hot liquid, or even potential contact with the container.?”
The American Burn Association explains, “Hot water will burn skin at temperatures much lower than boiling point (212°F/100°C). In fact, it only takes 3 seconds of exposure to?140°F/60°C water to cause a burn serious enough to require surgery!”
These posts claim that inhalation of steam from boiling water, sometimes with various infused ingredients, will kill the coronavirus. This is false. While it may help ease symptoms like congestion, steam inhalation also carries the risks of burns.
False: Steam therapy will not kill the coronavirus