Drinking hot water and steam inhalation help contain Coronavirus? Fact Check

A message which claimed that drinking hot water will help contain corona virus is making rounds on social media. Citing China’s Wuhan recovery, it said many people have recovered from coronavirus without going to hospital. It was shared on WhatsApp and here’s a message Digiteye India received.

The message is an audio file in Telugu and the person claims that she is sending it secretly from Wuhan. It is translated into English as: “Wuhan has patients everywhere now, no vaccine, no Medicine, but no more deaths in China because they’re following the treatment: Steam inhalation, drinking hot water/tea 4-5 times for 4-5 days and Coronavirus infection is Western countries don’t know this, they don’t drink hot water or steam inhalation so dying too many. This message secretly sent with great risk from China, in order to save India!!”

While the claim about drinking tea was debunked by Digiteye India already, the claim on water and inhalation of steam is focused this time, which is seen shared by many on Twitter too.

Fact Check:

There is no evidence to suggest that people in Western countries do not drink hot water or inhale steam. There is no evidence also to suggest that hot water or steam inhalation will help contain the virus or cure the virus completely and neither has there been any scholarly article for the same.

Since covid-19 has symptoms similar to cold and flu, the hot water and steam may provide a temporary relief. Once the coronavirus enters the body, it starts replicating itself and hot water cannot flush it down as suggested in many such claims. Drinking hot water and steam inhalation have other benefits such as staying hydrated, that helps everyone regardless of those who have the virus or not.

WHO clearly says: “While some western, traditional, or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19.”

Research on a vaccine is still underway and as of now WHO suggests washing of hands and maintaining social distance as the most effective preventive measures. Seeking medical advice soon after symptoms appear is a must, instead of any self-medication or using antibiotics.

Conclusion: The claim in the message is ???? – Mostly False.

About Snigdha Nalini

Snigdha Nalini is an intern with Digiteye India and a student of journalism at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC), Pune. She can be reached at snigdha@digiteye.in.

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