With this new wave of the COVID 19 virus infection all nations are fighting to save the lives of citizens since this new strain of the pandemic is more threatening due to it is asymptomatic nature. As a result global mortality is increasing day by day. Till there is no effective and specific treatment to cure this COVID-19 infection. Therefore, our global population is using traditional medicinal methods such as steam inhalation, consumption of medicinal beverages and foods which have medicinal values and boosts immunity. However, the overuse of these practices may lead its practitioners to experience worse conditions. This article sheds light on the negative effects of frequent steam inhalation practices done with little knowledge.
“The COVID-19 virus is an enveloped virus which is highly sensitive to heat and can be destroyed by the tolerable temperature,” said Dr. Lakshan Jayathilaka who serves the Base Hospital in Karawanella. “Therefore, steam inhalation is considered as an adjuvant home remedy for COVID-19 infected patients since it increases the temperature of the nasal mucosal membrane in rhinosinusitis (inflammation of the nasal cavities) and leads to the decrease in chemical secretion of the mast cells. Moreover, since ancient times steam inhalation has been used as an adjuvant treatment in several respiratory conditions such as Influenza virus or common flu, croup (an infection of the upper airway) and bronchitis. According to the previous research studies, SARS-CoV-2 is structurally similar to the influenza virus. Therefore, people believe that frequent steam inhalation may help in combatting the COVID-19 virus. Thus most people tend to overuse steam inhalation practices without knowing what happens behind this process.
“Steam inhalation is a useful home therapy for upper respiratory tract infections. However, in the case of lower respiratory tract infections it will not beneficial, since in the lower airway, the temperature of steam air converts into body temperature. Hence, it is useless to have over-practicing of steam inhalation in case of severe infection. In addition to that if we do over-steaming, it will destroy our mucus secretion cells (Bowman gland) in nasal cavity.
Consequently, we will lose chance from being protected from other infections, since mucus membrane cells play a main role as a surface barrier in human immune system in order to protect our body from infections. Therefore, if these mucus secretion cells are destroyed there is more likelihood of being vulnerable to other microbial infections,” he explained.
According to the above mentioned facts doing frequent steam inhalation practices are beneficial only during the initial stages or for mild infection conditions while it is not useful in severe infection conditions.