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"Am I breathing in any harmful gas? "

ZocdocAnswersAm I breathing in any harmful gas?


I steam my face over a boiling pot of water sometimes for my sinuses. I breathe in through my mouth and nose. I keep the flame on to keep it going. Just curious is that bad? Am I breathing in any gas?


Breathing steam for relief of congestion symptoms is a common practice. However, if you are having issues with chronic congestion, this may associated with underlying conditions such as chronic sinusitis or infection of the respiratory tract, and I recommend that you seek formal evaluation by your doctor or a healthcare professional to receive the appropriate testing and treatment, if necessary. Boiling water to create steam can be a dangerous practice because of the risk of handling the flame and boiling water, and great care should be taken. Additionally, steam, if too hot, can induce scald burns to exposed surfaces such as the face, eyes and hands. Safer practices include running warm water through the sink, the shower or bath tub. This allows one to avoid issues with burning stoves. Other methods of treating congestion include oral and nasal decongestants. These options can be discussed with your healthcare provider to see if they may be of utility for your symptoms.

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