A retired Chief Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba Lagos, Dr. Dan Onwujekwe, says steam inhalation cannot cure COVID-19.
According to him, steam inhalation has no antiviral effect but only improves elimination of waste products in the body.
Onwujekwe disclosed this while reacting to a post by the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa, which states that steam inhalation is not a cure for COVID-19.
WHO-AFRO, via its official Twitter handle @WHOAFRO, said, “Steam inhalation is not a cure for COVID-19. It may even cause serious burns.”
“Steam inhalation is not a safe or effective treatment for COVID19. No matter how hot the steam is, it will not reach the virus present in the cells of the infected individual.”
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, the researcher says it is a misconception to regard steam inhalation as cure for COVID-19.
“People are treating COVID-19 as common cold. Our people have always used steam in which they have added all sorts of herbs and roots for the treatment of fevers common in our environment.
“This steam inhalation is a carryover from our traditional treatment methods for our common fevers.
“While it may open up pores of the skin and help to liquefy nasal mucus, it has no direct antiviral effect, but it will help the body to throw up mucus that may be accumulating in wrong places. It may help the body to sweat out toxins, a part of the elimination process for waste products. But people are taking it as if it has antiviral effect,” Onwujekwe said.
He noted that many Nigerians believe that we don’t have deadly COVID-19 cases in Africa because our weather is hot and that the sun kills the virus. “If that is true, then, we shouldn’t even have cases at all in tropical Africa,” the scientist said.
WHO enjoined those who have COVID-19 not to self medicate with antibiotics, or other untested cures.
The world health body also urged all Africans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as the vaccines are available in their countries.