Effect of steam inhalation therapy as add-on to standard treatment in COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms: Randomized controlled study
Rajiv Kumar Bandaru1, Mehdi Ali Mirza2, Swathi Suravaram3, Sudha Bala4, Calambur Narsimhan5, Subramanian Muthiah5
1 Department of General Medicine, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
3 Department of Microbiology, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
4 Department of Community Medicine, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
5 Department of Electrophysiology, Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Dr. Rajiv Kumar Bandaru
Department of General Medicine, 4th Floor, Medical College Ward Block, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Sanathnagar, Hyderabad - 500 038, Telangana
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: The different ambient temperatures of the upper and lower respiratory tract could influence the replication kinetics of the virus.
Objective: This study is aimed to evaluate the effect of steam inhalation on clinical progression of COVID-19 and its subsequent impact on viral load that was evaluated in patients.
Materials and Methods: A randomized control trial in mildly infected COVID-19 was undertaken. The participants were randomized either to standard treatment plus steam inhalation (test, n = 22) or standard treatment alone (control, n = 22). Steam inhalation was continued for 20 min thrice daily for 10 days. The first reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction swab was collected on day 1 before steam inhalation and the second swab was obtained after its completion on the fourth day. In the control group, the swabs were collected at the matched time-points. The clinical progression of disease and the need of oxygen therapy were observed for 10 days. Reductions in cycle-threshold levels were assessed at the completion of 4 days of steam treatment.
Results: Only one patient from the test group and six patients from the control group progressed to moderate disease. No patient from the steam group required oxygen therapy, whereas three patients from the control group needed it. The median cycle-threshold levels pertaining to N-gene, E-gene, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, respectively, were nonsignificant. All the patients showed clinical recovery.
Conclusions: The clinical trends support the use of steam therapy as add on over standard treatment in mildly infected COVID-19 patients.