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WHO discourages steaming  

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Tarisai Machakaire 

SENIOR STAFF WRITER

machakairet@dailynews.co.zw 

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned people against steaming, saying it does not kill the coronavirus no matter how hot the concoction might be. 

This comes as Zimbabweans have gone into a steaming frenzy (kunatira) amid beliefs that the practice can kill the virus.

Most people boil eucalyptus leaves, ginger, lemon, zumbani and other local herbs before inhaling the steam while covered in a cloth.

With the second wave of the pandemic fully upon the country, the practice is now very common with some people even conducting it thrice daily.

As of Saturday, Zimbabwe had recorded 1 316 deaths from the confirmed 34 487 cases of the respiratory disease.

However, in a fact check, WHO has warned people against the practice as there is a high risk of getting burned.

“Steam inhalation does not cure Covid-19 and is not a safe treatment as it may cause serious burns.

“No matter how hot the steam is, it will not reach the virus present in the cells of the infected individual,” WHO said in a statement.

This also comes as the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (Wcoz) has also questioned the efficacy of zumbani in preventing Covid-19.

Zimbabweans are downing millions of gallons of the green tea on a daily basis with the hope that it would protect them from contracting the virus.

However, there is no scientific study that shows zumbani has the scientific capabilities of protecting people against the virus.

“We are concerned with the lack of official guidance from the ministry of Health regarding the efficacy of traditional treatment methods such as steaming (kunatira) and zumbani tea.

“We urge clear communication and messaging from the ministry regarding this issue in order to inform citizens accordingly.

“The ministry has both institutional and sectorial capacity to provide guidance on this matter. The matter at hand is simply providing steps to communities battling the disease on their own,” Wcoz said.

Meanwhile, authorities are not yet sure that Ivermectin, the drug that the government recently approved for controlled use on Covid-19 patients, is effective in treating people.

This comes after South Africa’s Department of Health discouraged the use of Ivermectin for the management of coronavirus recently, until current studies on its efficacy and safety have been concluded.

The government has said it is still waiting for results from clinical trials that were currently underway, to ascertain Ivermectin’s efficacy in Covid-19 patients.

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