However, according to doctors, inhalation has little effect on the infection, and worse, it might increase the risk if many are using the same vaporiser.
Health experts said steam inhalation can cleanse the upper respiratory tract but does not prevent COVID or kill the virus in those already infected. “It will help to reduce certain viruses with the temperature, but not coronavirus. Some believe that it works against COVID, but it is not scientifically proven,” said Dr Prasanna Kumar Thomas, consultant pulmonologist, Fortis Malar Hospital.
According to him, using common vaporisers kept in public places poses the risk of infection spread. “If a person has COVID, another person using the device increases chances of virus transmission,” he added.
“Steam inhalation can make your symptomatic congestion like cold better, especially the upper respiratory tract infection. But it does not help the lung. People should understand that COVID is a lung-related disease where the virus is inhaled through the nose and mouth, and gets into the lung respiratory tract. So inhaling steam may probably bring relief to initial symptoms and open up the sinus. It may even prevent other infections but not COVID,” added Dr Ashwin Karuppan, senior consultant - internal medicine, Gleneagles Global Health City.