Doctors warn of rise in kids in hospital with burns after parents fall for Covid myth that inhaling steam prevents virus

DOCTORS have warned about an increase of children coming to hospital with burns after parents are falling for the Covid myth that inhaling steam prevents catching the virus.

Birmingham Children's Hospital yesterday issued another warning after seeing more scalding cases in its burn unit.

They first warned parents about the dangerously false rumour last June.

The burns team said at the time it had seen six children with scalds from steam over one month, when it would usually see two a year.

A research study found that other centres across the country had also seen an increase in similar cases.

Inhaling steam is sometimes used as a remedy for common colds, but doctors have debunked the myth as they say its usefulness against Covid-19 "remains unproven".

The hospital said yesterday: "Our specialist burns team is once again warning families to be aware of the scalds risk associated with inhaling steam following an unhelpful myth circulating that inhaling steam can prevent COVID-19 (coronavirus).

"Sadly, our centre has seen increase of young people needing care after suffering such scalds from boiling water linked to inhaling steam.

"Such injuries have the potential to be life-changing. Please do not take the risk."


Doctors have said scalding is caused by the useless treatment have already led to surgery and potentially life-long disfigurement and scarring.

The bogus myth appears to be spreading by a Whatsapp video circulating claiming it can "save us all" from coronavirus infection.

Other versions of the rumour send via chain message claim that inhaling steam through the mouth and nose kills the virus while it is still in the sinuses before it “reaches your lungs”.

The Royal College of Physicians has urged against practising steam inhalation, which it says could cause harm.

President Prof Andrew Goddard told the BBC: "At the moment the only thing we know that works for members of the public to prevent Covid is vaccination. 

"I would urge anyone who sees this video to ignore it, there is no evidence that steam inhalation works, and there is good evidence it will do you harm."

Professor Naiem Moiemen first warned parents last year.

The consultant burns and plastic surgeon said: "We have observed a worrying increase recently here in Birmingham, as have others across the country, in the numbers of serious scald injuries linked to the practice of steam inhalation.

"This is particularly the case in areas where COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been more prevalent.

"There is no scientific evidence that steam inhalation provides symptomatic relief or prevents COVID-19 but what is clear is that it presents a risk for children."

The hospital said burns should be run under cold tap water for 20 minutes then be covered with cling film, and parents should call 111, 999, or a GP for help.

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