Amidst the rising number of coronavirus cases, people are looking for ways to safeguard themselves from the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus. Recently social media is stormed with a claim that says, steam inhalation can fight coronavirus. Read through this article to know about the fact and how steam inhalation benefits your health.
Woman taking steam inhalation

What Is Steam Inhalation?

Steam inhalation is one of the most recommended age-old home remedies used extensively to calm and open the nasal passages and get respite from the common cold or a sinus infection. It is also called steam therapy in which you inhale water vapour. In this technique, warm water is believed to loosen the mucus in the nasal passages, throats and lungs. This relieves symptoms of inflamed, swollen blood vessels in the nasal passages and eases congestion and other respiratory symptoms.

Does Steam therapy Help You Fight Covid-19?

The fact is that neither the World Health Organization (WHO) nor the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests this therapy for preventing coronavirus. However, the American Lung Association states that steam inhalation could help ease respiratory symptoms, but it will not work as a cure for the virus.

Social distancing, wearing mask, washing and sanitising hands at proper intervals are the best behavioural practices to combat deadly coronavirus.

Benefits of Steam Inhalation

A blocked or stuffy nose is triggered by inflammation in the blood vessels of the sinuses, where the blood vessels become irritated due to an acute upper respiratory infection like a cold or sinus infection.

The key benefit of inhaling in moist, warm steam is that it may help alleviate irritation and swollen blood vessels in the nasal passages. The vapour may also support thinning of the mucus in your sinuses, which permits them to clear out easily. It also relaxes throat muscles, lessen soreness and inflammation and dilates blood vessels improving blood circulation. This allows breathing to return to normal and help you to breathe well.

Also Read: Lung Health: 5 Powerful Antioxidant Rich Foods That Help You Breathe Well - Infographic

Steam inhalation therapy may offer temporary respite from the symptoms of

The common cold

The flu

Sinus infections


Nasal allergies

Steam inhalation doesn’t kill the virus responsible for the infection, however, steam inhalation may make you feel better and relieved as the body combats cold.

Several clinical trials have disclosed mixed results, however, anecdotal evidence claims steam inhalation helps ease:


Congested (stuffy) nose

Throat irritation

Breathing problems caused by airway congestion

Dry or irritated nasal passages


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How To Inhale Steam?

You will need a large bowl, water, a pot or kettle and a towel.

Heat up water to boiling temperature.

Now cautiously pour the hot water into the bowl. Cover the towel over the back of your head.

Close your eyes and slowly lower your head toward the vapour about 10 inches away from the water.

Avoid making direct contact with the water.

Inhale slowly and deeply via the nose for at least two to five minutes.

Don’t steam for more than 10-15 minutes per session. However, you can repeat steam therapy twice or thrice in a day to ease congestion or if you still suffer from symptoms.

Electric steam inhaler also called a vaporizer is readily available, which is simple and handy to use. The vaporizer uses electricity to make steam that warm before leaving the machine. Some vaporizers come with a built-in mask that fits around the mouth and nose. You will have to wash and clean vaporizer to prevent any bacterial or fungal growth.

Side Effects

Steam inhalation is a safe and effective home remedy if done correctly, but it’s also possible to hurt unintentionally if you’re not careful. There’s a risk of burning yourself if you make contact with hot water.

To avoid burns follow these precautions:

Ensure the bowl of hot water is placed on a levelled surface.

Don’t shake or lean on the bowl.

Avoid letting the steam make any contact with your eyes.

Keep the bowl of hot water out of reach of children. Steam inhalation isn’t advised for children due to the risk of burns.

Electrical vaporisers are safe, as the water is enclosed and can’t easily spill.