Steam Inhalations

Being an ENT Surgeon,I often keep telling patients to do steam inhalations.Next comes a query- how to do steam inhalations?

The simple way is sitting with your head over a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Avoid getting the hot steam in your eyes.Adding menthol, eucalyptus, camphor, thymol or pine oil to the water may help,however plain water also does the job of loosening the mucus.

Steam inhalation in children as described above should be avoided due to the risk of scalding in babies & younger children. Instead, a child may benefit from sitting in a hot, steamy bathroom.

There are now steamers available in the market which prevent the risks of accidental burns & scalding.However get a good product as my personal experience with a local made product has been mould in the equipment if left unused for some days!

Vapour rubs are also traditionally used.However it is not advisable to put them in steam/hot water.Apply the rub to your chest and back. Don’t apply it to their nostrils because this could cause pain and breathing difficulties