The effect of steam inhalation on nasal obstruction in patients with allergic rhinitis

Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 2021 Dec;39(4):304-308. doi: 10.12932/AP-090818-0393.


Background: Nasal obstruction is often impact on quality of life in allergic rhinitis (AR). The steam inhalation is one of widely used home remedies to soothe and open the nasal passages. Furthermore, steam inhalation may provide change in objective nasal airway assessment.

Objective: To compare the effect of steam inhalation on nasal obstruction between patients with AR and normal individuals, as well as the change in the cross-sectional area of the nasal cavity and in nasal airway resistance (NAR) between 2 groups.

Methods: A prospective comparative, parallel group study was conducted in AR and normal individuals. Steam with the temperature of 42-44°C was inhaled. Variables obtained before and after steam inhalation were compared.

Results: After steam inhalation, nasal symptom score, combined global symptoms, and Visual Analog scale (VAS) of combined global symptoms of AR patients showed statistically significant improvement. Whereas, normal individuals, there was statistically significant improvement only in sneezing and combined global symptoms. Meanwhile, the change of each measurement score, combined global symptoms, and VAS of the symptoms in those with AR were significantly higher than those of normal individuals. Total nasal airflow, NAR, volume, and mean minimal cross-sectional area of AR patients tended to better improve after steam inhalation.

Conclusions: The steam inhalation significantly improved nasal obstruction in AR patients, but no statistical significant difference between both groups for any parameters. The different response between the 2 groups may be due to different nasal mucosa sensitivity to stimuli.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nasal Obstruction* / diagnosis
  • Nasal Obstruction* / etiology
  • Nasal Obstruction* / therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Rhinitis*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic* / diagnosis
  • Rhinitis, Allergic* / therapy
  • Steam


  • Steam