Steam inhalation helps in clearing blocked paranasal sinuses, facilitating mucus drainage and speeding up healing process. Steam soothes the inflamed mucosa, humidifies the respiratory tract, liquefies the crusts and dries the cough. Steam is also used to deliver the drug, for instance, vasoconstrictors. However, while inhaling steam, follow correct procedure and use appropriate material. Here are a few tips:
Use water to make steam.
You can mix herbal oils, fresh herbs or dried herbs for effective treatment. You can choose from a number of herbs, such as burdock, comfrey, eucalyptus, peach bark, fennel and fenugreek.
Remember that purpose of the steam inhalation is soothing the infected parts not scalding the skin. Thus, the steam temperature should be bearable.
Steam inhalation is more effective if done as soon as the symptoms appear. Otherwise, you have to inhale for long.
Use a pot, sink, electric inhaler or kettle.
If using the sink, bring your head over it and inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes. However, protect your face, the steam may irritate and burn your eyes, and skin. Children shall take extra care, as their skin is very heat sensitive.
If using the pot, place the pot at an appropriate height considering your own height and then breathe the steam. If a wide-mouthed pot is being used, cover the pot and head with a sheet / towel to make a tent that will ensure better steam concentration. However, protect your face.
If a child is inhaling the steam, ensure that the pot do not tip over. S/he breathes the steam correctly through the nose.
Children can inhale steam in a hot shower as well.
For sinus treatment, inhale the steam through the nose.
If you want to expectorate or cough while inhaling steam, cover the pot or the spout of the inhaler.
You can make a cone of the stiff paper sheet. Place the wide side of the cone on the pot and breathe the steam from the narrow pointed side of the cone. This will protect your face and eyes from the direct exposure to the steam.
Do not expose eyes to the steam.
Be careful, as steam inhalation some times injures the respiratory tract.
Take deep breathe after inhaling the steam.
You may inhale twice a day. Check with your doctor.
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