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September 12, 2012
Autumn is the time when we all have increased risks of suffering from common cold, a flu, or other related respiratory system problems. This is caused by decreasing temperature, excessive load on our immune system and seasonal epidemics. We all have different approaches and use different techniques for treating and preventing this kind of diseases. Some relay totally on pharmaceuticals and use specially designed medications for reducing the risks of cold and a flu. Some are trying to avoid using such treatments and prefer only 100 per cent natural support like essential oils, herbal extracts or infusions, other homemade solutions and herbal remedies for common cold. We use such techniques as gargling, drinking herbal teas, using tinctures or special treatments with honey, garlic, onions, cinnamon, lemon, and other natural remedies for respiratory system problems. However, sometimes we tend to use the treatments and solutions which can be harmful to our health, and it is necessary to always be sure that what the common cold remedy you are using really helps.
According to the findings of a recent study, such a popular remedy for common cold are steam inhalation used for sinusitis or clogged nose may actually not be good for young children. A group of experts Maastad Hospital, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has studied the issue and found out that every year, at least three kids are admitted to the country’s hospital with quite serious burns caused by this common cold remedy (steam inhalations). “As there is no proven benefit, steam inhalation therapy should not be recommended for the common cold,” it is stated in the report of Dutch scientists. Martin Baartmans, the study leader, and his colleagues analyzed the data collected for over 10 years, from 1998 to 2007. The findings of this interesting study were recently published in the British Journal of General Practice.
According to the scientists, for the stated period of time 31 patient was admitted to burn centers of the country with steam inhalation related burns and heat traumas. At that, 29 of the patients received their injury due to the problems caused by hot water: it was spilled into nasal cavities or other body areas (lower abdomen, genital area, etc.) and caused burning. Other burns were caused by steam misusing. It turned out that more than a half of the patients (over 61 per cent) were children below 16. In average, burned total body areas were not exceeding 5.8 per cent, however, the condition of some young patients was pretty serious. It is reported that a few patients were in need of bladder catheter, and five children needed a skin graft after going through this common cold remedy. That is why Dutch scientists issued a warning for all parents and ask them to be very careful, watch their kids and possibly avoid using this dangerous technique to treat a common cold.
In addition, the experts analyzed the total expenses for emergency rooms and burn center treatment in three main medical centers of the country, Rotterdam, Groningen, and Beverwijk, and it turned out that the cost is really high: about € 115,500 (145,275 USD). It is recommended to keep in mind the dangers linked to steam inhalations as a very popular remedy for common cold, and possibly use other treatments and solutions. The authors of the study suggest “taking a hot shower or holding a child in the bathroom while the hot shower is running to clear sinuses may be a less risky way of prescribing steam inhalation.” Besides, Baartmans and his colleagues underline that any kind of steam inhalation therapy for children should be considered a procedure with increased danger and should no longer be recommended in any patient brochures, guidelines, and other educational materials. Read more about the findings and the effects of this common cold remedy on children in this report.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.