Steam, we have found the use of steam to be diversified in many ways, from industry, health and catering. There were steam engines in the beginning of the industrial revolution and in cooking practices to prevent the over cooking of food from direct heat. Steaming is also used to preserve beta carotenes in carrots. In the recent times, steaming is widely used to relieve congestion as a symptom of common colds.

Steam from a cup of tea or a hot shower, can loosen mucus in the nose, throat and lungs. It helps drain mucus from the nose by inhaling the steam, known as steaming, steam inhalation or steam therapy, whether from a large bowl of hot water or a vaporizer. It one of the most widely used home remedies used to prevent nasal congestion due to a cold or sinuses. It doesn’t cure an infection but relieves symptoms as the body fights off the infection.

This also relieves inflamed, swollen blood vessels along the air passages.

During cold, the stuffy nostrils are due to narrowing of air passages by bulging and inflamed blood vessels that are irritated due to an acute upper respiratory infection. The inhalation of warm steam can ease irritation and narrow bulged blood vessel which relieves the stuffiness and improve breathing. The steam will also loosen the mucus to easily flow to empty nasal spaces further helping with the symptoms.

Steam is helpful but can also be harmful when used incorrectly, steam carries the heat which when exposed to soft tissue may cause.

How do you inhale the steam?

The items needed for steaming include, a large bowl, water, heat source and towel.

The process:

  1. Heating the water to boiling point.
  2. Pour the water in the large bowl
  3. Use a timer
  4. Cover the towel over your head
  5. Close your eyes and lower your head toward the open bowl until your 10 to 12 inches away
  6. Inhale deeply through your nose for five minutes per session.
  7. You can repeat the process p to four time a day depending on the recurrence of your symptoms

There are vaporizers available on market that can provide better experience of steaming but still follow the same principles, some comes with inbuilt masks. For most electric steam inhalers, water is added to indicate mark and plugged into the electricity; the machine will allow the water to cool before it is inhaled. It is however important to read the instructions carefully for every machine used. Hot water is at times mixed with other components such as decongestants For example Vick and soothing essential oils.

One of the commonest problems of steaming involves hurting one’s self when the bowl of hot water is knocked over so it’s important to be careful with the handling of the bowl.

Steam inhalation isn’t advised for children.

Take away.

The proper following of the procedures for steaming make this home remedy important. However, you should  always remember steaming does not treat the infection but only relieves symptoms as the body’s immunity does the bulk of the work.

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