Some variations of this claim add other ingredients to the boiling water or steam, such as orange or lemon ( here ) and peppermint oil ( here ). Another post explains: “This technique will kill the Rona in your nasal passage and throat. Add essential oils or slices of the following for added benefits. Garlic, ginger, cayenne, tea tree, eucalyptus, or neem. There are many others you can add. Do a google search for “antiviral herbs foods” to see if anything you already have in your kitchen will work.” ( here )
These claims advise people to boil water, sometimes with other ingredients, then place their face over the steam and inhale in order to kill or eliminate the coronavirus. Some posts advise the user to do this for 15 minutes or however long they can stand.
One post claims: “Steam heat treatment for respiratory viruses. A natural remedy that kills Coronavirus, Influenza, Rhinovirus.” ( here )
Neither the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest steam therapy with any ingredient as a cure for the coronavirus. A representative from the CDC told Reuters that he was not aware of any scientific studies that show steam therapy helps with the coronavirus.
Steam therapy can help thin mucus as a supplemental course of action to give some relief when grappling a cold or flu ( here ) but overall, scientific studies showing evidence of its usefulness are lacking ( here ).
Additionally, the practice brings risks.
A study published by the Spanish Pediatrics Association notes: “It is apparent that regardless of how SIT [Steam Inhalation Therapy] is applied it carries a risk of burn injury. The usual technique of covering the head with a towel over a pan filled with hot water is dangerous due to the steam, the hot liquid, or even potential contact with the container. ” ( here )
The American Burn Association explains, “Hot water will burn skin at temperatures much lower than boiling point (212°F/100°C). In fact, it only takes 3 seconds of exposure to 140°F/60°C water to cause a burn serious enough to require surgery!” ( here )
These posts claim that inhalation of steam from boiling water, sometimes with various infused ingredients, will kill the coronavirus. This is false. While it may help ease symptoms like congestion, steam inhalation also carries the risks of burns.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work here .
Here’s an example of viral text in social media and Whatsapp:
You should STOP FAKE NEWS about Covid-19.
Shared by PGH doctors!
The hot water you drink is good for your throat. But this corona virus is hidden behind the paranasal sinus of your nose for 3 to 4 days. The hot water we drink does not reach there. After 4 to 5 days this virus that was hidden behind the paranasal sinus reaches your lungs. Then you have trouble breathing. That’s why it is very important to take steam, which reaches the back of your paranasal sinus.
You have to kill this virus in the nose with steam. At 50°C, this virus becomes disabled i.e. paralyzed. At 60°C this virus becomes so weak that any human immunity system can fight against it. At 70°C this virus dies completely. This is what steam does. The entire public health department knows this. But everyone wants to take advantage of this pandemic. So they don’t share this information openly. One who stays at home should take steam once a day. If you go to the market to buy vegetables, take it twice a day. Anyone who meets some people or goes to office should take steam 3 times a day. Forward this to all your loved ones.
🙏 *Steam week According to doctors, Covid -19 can be killed by inhaling steam from the nose and mouth, eliminating the Coronavirus. If all the people started a steam drive campaign for a week, the pandemic will soon end. So here is a suggestion:
* Start the process for a week morning and evening, for just 5 minutes each time, to inhale steam. If all adopt this practice for a week the deadly Covid-19 will be erased. This practice has no side effects either. So please send this message to all your relatives, friends and neighbours, so that we all can kill this corona virus together and live and walk freely in this beautiful world.
*Thank you. You are welcome to send this to your known groups / friends. 🙏🏼
Published: 12th January 2021.
Steam therapy kills Covid-19: False Claim