CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Local health officials discouraged the public from doing the traditional steam inhalation or "tuob" as preventive measure against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
City health office (CHO) epidemiologist Dr. Joselito Retuya said steam inhalation can only offer temporary relief from discomfort brought about by common illnesses.
“Steam inhalation can help relieve nasal congestions if one is experiencing minor cold and cough. However, there is no scientific evidence that it that kills viruses or prevents virus infection,” said Retuya.
Last June 7, a 34-year-old woman from Barangay Carmen was declared dead on arrival at Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).
“Days prior to her admission, she had complaints on abdominal pain and vomiting. She did not seek medical consultation, instead, she relied on tuob as home remedy,” said NMMC liaison officer Dr. Bernard Julius Rocha.
The patient was later confirmed as COVID-19 positive. She was the 15th case in the city and was recorded as the 9th fatality in Northern Mindanao.
Four members of her family remain in the city isolation facilities after they all tested positive for the virus.
“This is the danger that we are trying to save. Tuob can never prevent nor cure coronavirus,” added Rocha.
The Department of Health Regional Office 10 (DOH-10) said the most effective way to prevent coronavirus is to practice basic health protocols.
“The proven preventive measure against COVID-19 is to practice regular hand washing, physical distancing, wearing of face mask, and to stay at home,” said DOH-10 infectious diseases cluster head Dr. Ian Gonzales.
Health officials also advised the public to seek early medical consultation. Both CHO and NMMC offer online and telephone consultations so that residents do not need to go to hospital and clinics if they need medical assistance.