As the number of COVID-19 casualties continues to rise, several debates and controversies regarding its cure rise alongside it. Included among these debates is Tuob (tu-ob) or Steam Inhalation to relieve patients from the drastic effects of the respiratory disease.
So, let’s make things clear. What is Tuob, and does it really help get rid of the Novel Coronavirus?
The History of Tuob
Before the advent of modern technology and advanced medicines for coughs, common colds, and the flu, our elders have already been practicing the use of tuob to ease us from said sicknesses. It worked in treating such illnesses; thus, it is still being practiced by many up to this day.
Traditionally, tuob is performed as a healing ritual in the Philippines. A sick person is wrapped in a cloth or blanket while hovering over a steaming pot or sitting over a jar of heated coal. While the patient is being heated, the healer rubs essential oils over his body while chanting healing mantras.
It is believed that tuob detoxifies the body, cleanses the skin, relaxes the muscles, and increases the body’s metabolism. Tuod also boosts the immune system and keeps mucous membranes from drying. As such, tuob relieves a person from asthma, arthritis, and other allergies.
Tuob Today: Pros and Cons
You can perform tuob by placing boiling water (with one or two tablespoons of salt, herbs, or other medicinal tinctures added to it) into any container with an opening enough to fit your face, nose, and mouth. After placing your face just above the opening, cover your head with a towel or any cloth or blanket to contain the steam, and inhale deeply for 10 to 15 minutes while you sweat. The process may help alleviate symptoms of colds and sinus blockage of the respiratory tract.
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that there are western, traditional, or home remedies that may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of mild COVID-19 cases. However, they emphasized that there are still no proven medicines or treatments that can prevent or cure it.
Philippine medical societies also released a statement regarding tuob or steam inhalation, saying that there is no scientific evidence that it could kill the SARC-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the ongoing pandemic. They also warned the public that the practice of tuob could potentially increase the spread of the virus, especially if done around other people. Furthermore, steam inhalation increases nasal discharge. As such, the possibility of contamination also increases when the patient sneezes or coughs.
Additionally, because the practice of tuob requires prolonged exposure to steam, it could also cause first degree burn injuries either by direct inhalation of vapor to the respiratory tract or by spillage of hot water to the body.
Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
The best ways to protect yourself and others from the Novel Coronavirus are the following preventive methods:
- Thorough and frequent hand washing,
- Wearing of face masks especially when in public,
- Practicing cough etiquette, and
- Maintaining a physical distance of at least 1 meter from others.
However, if you still want to consider tuob or steam inhalation therapy, do it with caution. Ideally, if COVID-19 symptoms persist, seek immediate medical attention.
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