Types of Steam Inhalers

Written by geoffrey st. marie
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Types of Steam Inhalers
Some steam inhalers have spa treatment features. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

With all of the cold and sinus medications on the market, some consumers may be interested in scouting out some alternatives to pharmaceuticals. One such option may be a steam inhaler, which delivers moisture into the cavities of the face, throat and chest. Despite some general consistencies in the products available, consumers should be aware of differences in application, pricing and manufacturer.

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Basic Uses and Features

Regardless of the type or brand of steam inhaler, you can look for some common characteristics or applications. These devices are generally produced to aid in the treatment of conditions such as sinus infections and chest congestion. Steam inhalers usually derive power from electrical sources and are constructed from plastic. They might have a face mask-type assembly, where the user rests his mouth and nose to receive the maximum benefit from the emitted steam.

Brand Names

There are a number of manufacturers of steam inhalers. Mabis makes the Cough and Cold Inhaler, which can be found online or at common retailers such as Walmart. MyPureMist makes an inhaler particularly focused on the alleviation of sinus symptoms and can also be found via the Internet. One of the better-known manufacturers, Vicks, also provides consumers with a steam inhaler option. Other possible products include but are not limited to those made by Conair, Veridian and Homedic.

Appeal and Pricing

One aspect of these inhalers that may be deemed attractive is that there is no actual drug used in the treatment they provide. It is the steam alone that acts as the agent delivering the relief. This is one of the reasons that the inhalers are frequently marketed as child-friendly or child-safe. The pricing for these units will differ depending on the product itself, as well as on the venue where you obtain them. In the long run, however, you can expect to spend somewhere between £13 and £39.

Considerations

A steam inhaler is not a stand-alone remedy, especially if you are suffering from a condition that may require antibiotics or some other formal prescription. While a potentially helpful supplemental treatment, a doctor should be consulted in order to determine if it is right for you. Studies reflect inconclusive results as to whether steam is actually helpful at all. Additionally, different steam inhalers are marketed for different conditions, so it should not be assumed that one geared toward sinus relief will be versatile enough to handle a deep chest cold. Remember that no one possesses a monopoly on these inhalers, so shop around and compare at your discretion.

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