How effective is steam inhalation for coronavirus?
In the Philippines, alternative medicine is still widely practiced. This is mainly due to the fact that a large number of Filipinos cannot afford to buy medicine or go to the hospital, and there is limited access to healthcare in the country.
This is the reason why alternative forms of treatment such as “tuob” are used to treat respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. In fact, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia recently released a memorandum that encouraged government employees to practice this form of treatment.
Local medical experts do not recommend steam inhalation for coronavirus
However, the Department of Health (DOH), as well as various medical societies, have warned against using “tuob” to treat COVID-19.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the effects of steam inhalation against COVID-19 remain unproven. The DOH added that using steam might even cause burn injuries, and can even spread the virus further through aerosolization.
In response to Governor Garcia’s memorandum, a joint statement from thirteen (13) medical societies was released saying that steam inhalation is not recommended for treatment for coronavirus.
Referring to updated medical evidence regarding steam inhalation for coronavirus, they emphasized that “steam inhalation has not been demonstrated to kill the virus, specifically the Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes COVID-19.”
They also stressed how steam inhalation may even be dangerous, particularly if done by those with COVID-19. Why? Because it may even facilitate the spread when performed as a group.
This is why they cannot, “in good conscience, endorse its use a preventive or curative measure”.
Here is a list of the medical societies that were part of the joint statement that made a stand against steam inhalation for coronavirus:
- Philippine College of Chest Physicians
- University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society (Cebu Chapter)
- Philippine College of Physicians (Central Visayas Chapter)
- Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
- University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association (Cebu Chapter)
- Philippine Dermatological Society
- Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society
- Central Visayas Society of Ophthalmology
- Philippine College of Surgeons
- Philippine Pediatric Society
- Pediatric Respiratory Specialists of Cebu Inc
- Philippine Academy of Family Physicians
- Philippine Society of General Surgeons (Central Visayas Chapter)