As there has been an increasing number of discussions and rumours spreading on WhatsApp and Facebook stating that inhaling steam through the nose and mouth can help fight Covid-19, and because many of our clients have asked, we thought it would be a good time to offer our opinion on the subject.
Having been in this industry for many years, we have come across a plethora of judgmental claims relating to banya treatments and the positive/negative effects of steam in general, so we decided to check to see whether any of these social media statements are worthy of your attention.
Recently, in order to kill coronavirus, people have been advised to boil water, sometimes with other ingredients such as lemon or peppermint oil, and then place their face over the steam and inhale. Some posts tell users to do this for 15 minutes or for however long they can stand it. The authors have even suggested that steaming “might help relieve the consequences of SARS-CoV-2” in mild infections or in the early stages of the disease.
In order to provide you with an informed opinion, we have conducted a lot of research, checking facts and articles, and studying potentially false images, videos and stories on Facebook and YouTube. As a result, we feel able to say that these claims are false because there is no evidence that Covid-19 can be cured or treated by inhaling steam.
Although many of us have traditionally used steam inhalation as a home remedy for common colds and upper respiratory tract infections, there is nowhere near enough evidence to warrant encouraging people to inhale steam to prevent or treat Covid-19, especially if it means they don’t adhere as strictly to proven methods of prevention; for example, increased hand washing, wearing face coverings and social distancing.
Furthermore, although they both cause a respiratory illness, the virus behind the common cold has been proven to be different to the one causing Covid-19. Treatment trials for Covid-19 are currently running around the world, but to date none of them have been proven to be a consistently effective cure (although some, such as corticosteroids, have been used with some success).
Although steam is at the heart of banya, we do not believe these claims and, as the BBC has pointed out, they may even cost lives. Steam, heat and banya do not treat Covid-19.
However, regular visits to Banya No.1 will boost your immune system, which is a very tangible benefit in terms of preventing or coping with the common cold which is caused by a viral infection.
Regardless of how many precautions you take, the simple fact is that everyone is at risk of contracting coronavirus. Inhaling steam will not help you fight the infection, but those who are in prime physical health with the strongest immune systems will be in the best position to overcome its effects.
Your first line of defence against coronavirus is to avoid situations where you may be infected by it.
Your second line of defence is to strengthen your body as much as possible so you can resist its effects. Banya visits have been proven to be an extremely useful tool in boosting your body’s immune system so that it is in the strongest possible position to fight off any viral infection.
You can read an excellent fact-checking article here: https://fullfact.org/online/steam-covid/