FactCheck: Audio Message Claims Steam Inhalation Kills COVID-19

There is no scientific evidence proving that steam inhalation can kill or inactivate any viruses.

A viral WhatsApp audio clip presumed to be the voice of a Mumbai-based doctor, encourages the use of steam inhalation to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. BOOM decided to fact check the claim and found out that so far, there is no scientific evidence supporting the claim that steam acts on the COVID-19 virus.

A pulmonologist we reached out to explained that steam only clears the nasal pathway for shedding of mucous but does not inactivate any viruses.

The audio viral on WhatsApp is circulating in the name of Dr. Bhonsale from Cooper Hospital in Mumbai wherein he is heard discussing the use of steam inhalation machines to ward off COVID-19 in Marathi and English. BOOM contacted Dr. Bhonsale who declined to comment.

In the 7:36 minute audio, a man is heard saying that he distributed steam inhalation machines through his trust. He discusses that the virus settles in the 'paranasal sinus'- cavities around the nose and is killed at a temperature of 60-70º which is provided through steam. He further elaborates the different number of times a person should inhale steam to inactivate the virus if it has entered one's body. He also speaks about eating chickoos and bananas for immunity boosting.

BOOM received the audio on its WhatsApp helpline asking for it to be verified. The caption with the audio reads, "Dr. Bhosale of Cooper Hospital in conversation with his friend."

Also Read:COVID-19 Test In Mumbai Will No Longer Require A Doctor's Prescription

Fact Check

In the audio, a man discusses the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the paranasal sinus and how it can be killed while it is lying dormant in that specific area for four days. BOOM spoke to Dr. Preyas Vaidya, Consultant Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospitals who said that there is no evidence discussing where the virus is found in the body.

"Scientists have not been able to find where the virus settles or lies dormant in the body. Claiming it stays in the paranasal sinus- a cavity around the nose for four days needs more scientific proof. They found the virus in the blood in China. It affects many areas in the body," Dr. Vaidya stated.

Dr. Vaidya also clarified that studies for the effect of steam inhalation on other viruses have shown that it just clears the pathway for shedding of mucous but does not inactivate any viruses. "Steam inhalation at very high temperatures could lead to inflammation and irritation in the nasal route," Dr. Vaidya added.

The man in the audio also mentions that you should inhale steam once in a day if you are not stepping out of the house, twice if you go out for a short while, and every two hours if you are in contact with a COVID-19 patient. He even says that this is the best practice to follow for preventing the virus.

"So far, hand hygiene, wearing a mask, and social distancing have been approved methods of prevention. There is nothing else that the World Health Organization has prescribed," added Dr. Vaidya. India is also using hydroxychloroquine for preventive measures of COVID-19.

The audio clip also mentions police personnel at Santacruz Police station using steam inhalation machines provided by him and thus not having any cases. BOOM reached out to Shriram Koregaonkar, senior inspector, Santacruz police station who confirmed that they have received these machines and they are using them. He, however, denied that no cases of COVID-19 have been detected at the police station. An assistant sub-inspector attached to the hospital passed away due to COVID-19 in June.

BOOM could not independently verify the identity of the person in the audio clip.

BOOM has earlier debunked messages claiming garlic, ginger, tea, coffee, kashayams, can prevent and cure COVID-19.

Also Read: Drinking Warm Water With Lemon Does Not Protect You From Coronavirus

Updated On: 2020-07-08T17:27:38+05:30
Claim :   Steam Inhalation can cure COVID-19
Claimed By :  Audio on WhatsApp
Fact Check :  False
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