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What is ‘suob’ or steam therapy and does it help cure COVID-19?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that a cure or vaccine for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has not yet been developed.

However, some Filipinos have been saying “suob” or steam therapy helps, but what is the truth behind this? 

READ: ‘Suob’ o steam therapy, puwede nga bang gamot laban sa COVID-19?

In a special online series titled “Survivors,” professional basketball player Chris de Chavez and his family shared how they won their battle against COVID-19 with the help of suob.

Chris’ mother, a chief nurse at a hospital in New Jersey, suddenly fell ill one night.

Since her mother was a medical frontliner, they knew right away that she was possibly infected with COVID-19.

The rest of the family eventually felt COVID-19 symptoms as well, such as flu and body aches.

Despite feeling sick, Chris and his father fought it and forced themselves to exercise.

According to Chris’ father Jun, suob also helped them recover.

Suob or steam therapy is done by inhaling salt water on a basin while using a piece of cloth, such as a towel, to cover one’s head and shoulders and enclose the steam.

Jun learned this cure from his mother in Batangas when he was young.

The De Chavez family claimed that suob helped them decongest their lungs.

A week after getting infected, the family felt better.

However, pediatric pulmonologist and sleep specialist Dr. Rolando dela Eva said there was no strong evidence to prove that steam therapy helps cure COVID-19.

“Actually ang steam inhalation, traditional na ginagawa ’yan. Pero sa ngayon wala pa talagang strong evidence, very weak ang evidence na ito’y nakakatulong, the more dito sa coronavirus,” he said.

Dela Eva also said the claims of those who had said they were cured of COVID-19 because of steam inhalation may just be mere coincidences.

“Doon sa mga pasyenteng siguro na nagkaroon ng COVID at sinasabi nila na kine-claim na nakatulong yung steam inhalation, baka ’yon ay nakataon lang. Baka sila ay spontaneously talagang nagre-recover kahit hindi nila ginagawa yung steam inhalation,”  he said. – Jannielyn Ann Bigtas/RC, GMA News