A day after people raised safety concerns over mobile steam inhalation vehicles and stations, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Monday said the state government has laid down a treatment protocol for Covid-19 as per the guidelines of the World Health Organisation and people should not resort to self-medication as it could pose a great risk to life.
“The practice of inhaling steam is spreading among the public. It has been shared on social media that such practices will prevent Covid-19. The hot pressurised air could affect the lungs and when people inhale with their mouths open, the chances of the virus spreading to the next person is very high. Also, steam inhalation cannot be considered to be medical treatment. Infected persons should reach the hospital and get medical help rather than indulging in self-medication,” he said.
Further, Subramanian said to include other systems of medicine, the government has set up Siddha Covid care centres to provide special treatment based on the guidance provided by the committee formed by the state government.
On Saturday, BJP Mahila Morcha President and Coimbatore South MLA Vanathi Srinivasan inaugurated a mobile steam inhalation vehicle. Tweeting a video of the event, Vanathi wrote that front-line workers were the first beneficiaries.
Steam Inhalation Station and Mobile Steam Inhalation Vehicle inaugurated in Coimbatore today. Frontline workers of Coimbatore Corporation were the first beneficiaries today. @JPNadda @blsanthosh pic.twitter.com/h1DkSTmodR
— Vanathi Srinivasan (@VanathiBJP) May 15, 2021
At MGR Central Railway Station, the Tamil Nadu Railway police installed a steam inhalation unit and passengers actively participated in the event. Similar videos of such mass steaming events were circulated on social media.
சென்னை சென்ட்ரல் ரயில் நிலையத்தில் ரயில் பயணிகள் நீராவி பிடிக்க ஏற்பாடு
தமிழ்நாடு ரயில்வே போலீசார் இந்த முயற்சியை துவங்கி உள்ளனர்
— Velmurugan Paranjothy/ ப.வேல்முருகன் (@Vel_Vedha) May 16, 2021
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Dr.Prasanna Kumar Thomas, a pulmonary specialist, said steam inhalation is totally unscientific. “Covid-19 doesn’t cause sinusitis. It doesn’t even cause too much nasal discharge and the infection hits the throat and goes downwards. If you keep inhaling with the same machine again and again, you are going to transmit this virus, no matter how many times you sanitize it. This is totally unscientific. I don’t know where people got this idea from. If you want to inhale, please do so within the confines of your home. People should understand that steam inhalation does not cure Covid-19 and it is dangerous because can also transmit the virus,” he said.