Amid the rising demand for medical oxygen, hospital beds and other life-saving supplies due to increasing COVID-19 cases, a district in Gujarat has invented its own way to deal with the pandemic.
Some villages in Mehsana district have started community steam chambers where residents come and inhale the steam of an ayurvedic concoction as a therapy against the novel coronavirus infection, reported The Times of India.
The first such chamber was set up in Untva village in Kadi Tehsil of Mehsana district around six months ago, when the virus infection was ravaging the country.
Mahendra Patel, who set up the first such chamber, claims there is no side effect of the procedure. For making the steam, 25 different herbs and medicinal plants, including turmeric, neem, ginger, tulsi, clove etc., are added to water in a big vessel. The water is then boiled by covering the utensil till it starts emanating steam, said the report citing Patel.
“The steam is directed to a nearby chamber where a person stands and inhales it for two to three minutes with deep breaths,” Patel told the publication.
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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Currently, 100-200 persons take their daily dose of steam in Untva, as per the report.
Inspired by Untva, several other villages of the district also adopted the method. According to Tareti village Sarpanch Pina Patel, she had contracted the virus earlier and recovered. “During that period, I had heard about benefits of steam inhalation by a centre run in Untva. I was impressed by the simple but effective mechanism and replicated it in our village,” said Patel. It is giving good results, she added.
The setting up of the steam chambers needs an initial investment of Rs 25,000, followed by a recurring cost of an LPG cylinder to boil the water, said the report.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there are mixed opinions about the effectiveness of taking steam in killing the infection and/or preventing it from contracting. According to experts, inhaling the steam is surely good and is advocated as part of COVID-19 therapy too, but suggested that its indiscriminate use must be avoided, as per the report.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government on April 27 decided to impose a night curfew in nine more cities of the state in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus. With this, the night curfew is now being enforced in 29 cities of Gujarat. The state government also announced new restrictions in these 29 cities, including closure of restaurants, swimming pools, cinema halls, shopping complexes and water parks, till May 5. It also announced curbs on APMCs, public transport, religious gatherings, funerals and marriage functions across the state.Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.