Steam Inhalation Benefit and Side-Effects

Have you ever thought that Steam Inhalation can have side effects (adverse effects) on your health? Let me share what made me write this blog as part of the Strong Self-Immunity and Healthy Living Project for our mission to create a healthy and disease-free society.

My old neighbor’s cousin, Anup, called me with an issue of irritation in the eye. He was also complaining of continuous watering of the eye and pain in eye muscle. Through my queries and diagnosis of an eye specialist, it was found that it was due to the harmful effects of excessive steam inhalation, which Anup was doing as a part of preventive measures to safeguard himself against COVID-19 infection.

Anup has been following many self-medication and preventive measures circulated on social media. These include immunity booster medicines, packaged foods, etc. He daily takes steam with eucalyptus oil and Ayurveda medicines. He believed that steaming every day would ensure he never gets infected with the coronavirus.

During the pandemic, such self-medication has been prevalent all around us by half-doctors and self-declared doctors on social media or by well-wishers. But are these measures and medicines safe? Do I, as a Doctor, recommend you follow such free advice?

Anup’s complaint made me do research, and I thought of sharing a scientific explanation about the impact of a simple measure, STEAM INHALATION, seemingly harmless but has the potential to impact you adversely if done without Doctor’s consultation.

Specialist’s Viewpoint

  1. As per an eye specialist, in recent times, 10% to 20% of eye complaint cases are due to overdoing and ad hoc manner of taking continuous steam for a long duration.
  2. My ENT (Ear Nose Throat) specialist doctor friend also shared a similar concern that continuous steam inhalation for an extended period has an adverse impact on ENT cells.

Let me share in detail the benefits and side effects of steam inhalation.

Benefits of Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation is a useful and beneficial tool in treating sinus issues, allergic issues, cold, cough, and viral infection, along with medication. It helps in the early recovery.

When should you do Steam Inhalation

Steam Inhalation should be done during an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) disease condition as a part of treatment. Steam Inhalation for a short period of 4-5 days with plain water gives the desired result and becomes a useful tool for future treatment plans.

Side-effects of Steam Inhalation

Most people are not aware that the use of steam inhalation beyond the prescribed period has bad effects on health.

Following organs are impacted due to the long-duration or ad-hoc approach of steam inhalation:

Eye: Adding any medication, oils while doing steam inhalation can invite eye-related issues. They may reduce blood supply to eye muscle and cause future major eye-sight problems. Steam can cause swelling of the eye, redness of the eye, dry eye, continuous watering of the eye, etc.

Nose and Throat Cells: Continuous steam inhalation damages the nasal and throat cells and never damage of organ

Skin: Due to steam, face and neck skin become dry and causes many fungal or bacterial skin infections. Face and neck skin exposed to continuous steam inhalation can cause burn injury.

Nerve Cells: Continuous steam or hot application damages the texture of nose and throat cells and nerve cells damage. It causes numbness or impaired function of cells. It also reduces the blood supply to the cell, further damaging the cell chemistry. The body’s healthy cells have an adverse impact due to external heat for an extended period.

Let’s see how steam inhalation and the immune system works.

How does Steam Inhalation help?

During the body’s normal or healthy condition, body cells are sensitive to external heat of any kind (steam or hot application). During any disease, the cells have inflammation, and during such inflammation, external heat by steam inhalation, hot pad, or hot application helps reduce the inflammation and promote early healing.

How Immune System Works?

During any foreign body attack like virus, bacteria, and pathogens, nerve cells sent alerts to the immune system about foreign body attack on the body. The immune system gets ready for a counterattack, fights back the foreign body, and saves us from the diseases suffering.

Damage Nerve Cell Impact on Immunity:

Damaged or numb nerves cannot send any prompt alert to the immune system, which means foreign body presence in the body is not recognized by the immune system cells at an early stage. It helps the foreign body to multiply in the body within a short period. The presence of a large amount of foreign body in our body causes disease.

Prompt, alert, and a robust immune system is critical to combat any foreign body’s attack at an early stage so that disease condition can be prevented.

We doctors often discuss that people should be aware of the basic functionality of the body’s immune system. Immunity is the package of mental health, physical health, and diet. Medicines, multivitamins, or readymade immunity food products do not strengthen Immunity. Steam Inhalation is a supporting treatment method to cure diseases, not a daily routine, nor can it prevent diseases.

You can do your immunity assessment here click the link –


Any treatment is given scientifically and when prescribed as per the requirement of the disease condition is helpful. Subject matter experts know what type of treatment should be given at a particular disease condition stage. An ad-hoc approach without an expert’s opinion is harmful. Self-medication or health tips from social media, Wikipedia, Google search, and the unknown source is hazardous to health. Anything in excess is always dangerous.

Note: It is about your health and well-being, so don’t experiment or invite health issues due to ad-hoc health tips implementation.

Be Wise and Stay Healthy

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