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Heated, humidified air for the common cold.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011; (5):CD001728CD

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Heated, humidified air has long been used by sufferers of the common cold. The theoretical basis is that steam may help congested mucus drain better and heat may destroy the cold virus as it does in vitro.

OBJECTIVES

To assess the effects of inhaling heated water vapour (steam) in the treatment of the common cold by comparing symptoms, viral shedding and nasal resistance.

SEARCH STRATEGY

In this updated review we searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 3), which contains the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group's Specialised Register, MEDLINE (1966 to July Week 1, 2010), EMBASE (1990 to July 2010) and Current Contents (1994 to July 2010).

SELECTION CRITERIA

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) using heated water vapour in participants with the common cold or participants with experimentally-induced common cold.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS

We reviewed all retrieved articles and excluded any articles, editorials and abstracts with inadequate outcome descriptions. The studies we included were subjected to a methodological assessment.

MAIN RESULTS

Six trials (394 trial participants) were included. Three trials in which patient data could be pooled found benefits of steam for symptom relief for the common cold (odds ratio (OR) 0.31; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.16 to 0.60). However, results on symptom indices were equivocal. No studies demonstrated an exacerbation of clinical symptom scores. One study conducted in the USA demonstrated worsened nasal resistance, while an earlier Israeli study showed improvement. One study examined viral shedding and antibody titres in nasal washings; there was no change in either between treatment and placebo groups. Minor side effects (including discomfort or irritation of the nose) were reported in some studies.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS

Steam inhalation has not shown any consistent benefits in the treatment of the common cold, hence is not recommended in the routine treatment of common cold symptoms until more double-blind, randomized trials with a standardised treatment modality are conducted.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Sector 12, Chandigarh, India, 160012.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Meta-Analysis
Review
Systematic Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

21563130

Citation

Singh, Meenu, and Manvi Singh. "Heated, Humidified Air for the Common Cold." The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2011, p. CD001728.
Singh M, Singh M. Heated, humidified air for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011.
Singh, M., & Singh, M. (2011). Heated, humidified air for the common cold. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (5), p. CD001728. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001728.pub4.
Singh M, Singh M. Heated, Humidified Air for the Common Cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 May 11;(5)CD001728. PubMed PMID: 21563130.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Heated, humidified air for the common cold. AU - Singh,Meenu, AU - Singh,Manvi, Y1 - 2011/05/11/ PY - 2011/5/13/entrez PY - 2011/5/13/pubmed PY - 2011/6/24/medline SP - CD001728 EP - CD001728 JF - The Cochrane database of systematic reviews JO - Cochrane Database Syst Rev IS - 5 N2 - BACKGROUND: Heated, humidified air has long been used by sufferers of the common cold. The theoretical basis is that steam may help congested mucus drain better and heat may destroy the cold virus as it does in vitro. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of inhaling heated water vapour (steam) in the treatment of the common cold by comparing symptoms, viral shedding and nasal resistance. SEARCH STRATEGY: In this updated review we searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 3), which contains the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group's Specialised Register, MEDLINE (1966 to July Week 1, 2010), EMBASE (1990 to July 2010) and Current Contents (1994 to July 2010). SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) using heated water vapour in participants with the common cold or participants with experimentally-induced common cold. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We reviewed all retrieved articles and excluded any articles, editorials and abstracts with inadequate outcome descriptions. The studies we included were subjected to a methodological assessment. MAIN RESULTS: Six trials (394 trial participants) were included. Three trials in which patient data could be pooled found benefits of steam for symptom relief for the common cold (odds ratio (OR) 0.31; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.16 to 0.60). However, results on symptom indices were equivocal. No studies demonstrated an exacerbation of clinical symptom scores. One study conducted in the USA demonstrated worsened nasal resistance, while an earlier Israeli study showed improvement. One study examined viral shedding and antibody titres in nasal washings; there was no change in either between treatment and placebo groups. Minor side effects (including discomfort or irritation of the nose) were reported in some studies. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Steam inhalation has not shown any consistent benefits in the treatment of the common cold, hence is not recommended in the routine treatment of common cold symptoms until more double-blind, randomized trials with a standardised treatment modality are conducted. SN - 1469-493X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/21563130/Heated_humidified_air_for_the_common_cold_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD001728.pub4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -