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Fact Check: Does Steam Inhalation Really Cure Novel Coronavirus?

Fact check on whether steam inhalation actually kills the novel Coronavirus. Here are some suggestions from a few experts on the same. Read on for details.

fact check

Claim: Steam Inhalation kills Coronavirus

Rating: False

What is the rumour about?

The rumour is about the viral WhatsApp message that has been spreading worldwide and claiming that inhaling steam can kill Coronavirus.

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Who is spreading the rumour?

  • Various social media forwards by Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp users have contributed to this rumour.
  • There have been many versions of the rumour. Take a look. 
  • One WhatsApp forward mentions a Chinese expert assuring that the inhalation of steam kills the Coronavirus.
  • Many messages also state that steam inhalation could kill the virus when one does steam inhalation along with gargling with saltwater.
  • One Facebook video which went viral was actually a Facebook live on March 15, which shows a man asking people to inhale the steam from hot water consisting of salt and citrus fruit peels. The video claimed that this has to be done for 15-20 minutes for it to work.
  • The Facebook video got more than 2.4 million views, which was a 40 minute long Facebook live. The person doing the Facebook live was identified to be a sound technician and a songwriter according to his Facebook page.  He added a disclaimer in the video saying that it wasn’t a medical opinion and it was purely based on his sole analysis of the studies that were published.
  • Some Facebook videos also saw people performing steam inhalation using aromatic oils and some even added chopped onions.

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Image courtesy: WhatsApp forwards

fact check, steam inhalation, steam inhalation kills coronavirus, steam inhalation benefits, coronavirus in india

Image courtesy: WhatsApp forwards

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Republic World did a fact check on the steam inhalation kills Coronavirus rumour

  • The viral claim circulated all over the web is False.
  • Experts advise that performing steam inhalation may help to decrease the respiratory issues, congestion issues in the nasal passage and airways but it is not found to kill the virus.
  • Reportedly, Dr Benjamin Neuman, Biological Sciences department at Texas A&M University-Texarkana, mentioned that the lungs are delicate and inhaling hot steam is not a good idea as it may damage the lungs and the airways.
  • Reportedly, Dr Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer, American Lung Association, also revealed that that steam inhalation methods could help alleviate respiratory symptoms but they won't work as a cure for the virus.
  • He said that inhaling steam may help with the symptoms of respiratory issues like nasal congestion, cough and chest congestion. However, the relief would only help decrease the severity of symptoms and it would not treat any viral infection.
  • Reportedly, Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, suggested avoiding using hot steam inhalation to kill the virus. He said that the warm moisture won’t contribute to killing the virus and they should rather be careful while handling hot water while doing this.
  • If very hot water is being used for steam inhalation, it may cause burns to some people when the hot water vapour touches the eyes, face and airways.
  • WHO recommendations for Coronavirus treatment includes some suggestions along with some myth busters. Take a look. 
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Image courtesy: WHO

steam inhalation kills coronavirus rumour

Image courtesy: WHO

WHO advice on how to protect oneself from Coronavirus

 

steam inhalation kills coronavirus rumour

Image courtesy: WHO

steam inhalation kills coronavirus rumour

Image courtesy: WHO

steam inhalation kills coronavirus rumour

Image courtesy: WHO

Google Trends on steam inhalation kills Coronavirus rumour

Here is a Google Trend analysis on the number of people searching for whether steam inhalation actually killed the COVID-19 virus. Many social media forwards had resulted in this viral rumour. Here, the data is showing the time when the viral rumour started circulation all over the web on March 29. 

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Image courtesy: Google Trends

People searching for the "steam inhalation kills Coronavirus" rumour

According to the Google Trends analysis, the "steam inhalation kills Coronavirus" rumour was being searched mostly in the Philippines, followed by Ghana, Pakistan, Nigeria and Sri Lanka. 

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Image courtesy: Google Trends

Related queries on Google Trends 

fact check, steam inhalation, steam inhalation kills coronavirus, steam inhalation benefits, coronavirus in india

Image courtesy: Google Trends

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