Samantha Ruth Prabhu and hydrogen peroxide nebulization: Is she right about its benefits?

Samantha Ruth Prabhu (left); Hydrogen peroxide was used for inhalation nebulizer therapy during Covid by many people as a trial. Representative image/iStock/it:szakalikus

Actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu, battling the autoimmune disease called Myositis, recently said on her social media page that nebulization with distilled water and hydrogen peroxide could be an alternative approach for a common viral infection. Following the post, social media influencer ‘The Liver Doc,’ whose name is Dr Abby Philips, slammed her saying she is spreading misinformation and even termed her a ‘health and science’ illiterate. While both of them have been clarifying their stands on social media about their intentions, merits and demerits, many have been wondering whether the procedure has any benefit to it. Dr Palaniappan Manikyam, a renowned gastroenterologist based in the US and a social media health influencer, shared an experience from a similar case of treatment he was involved in, to explain whether what Samantha says has any merit.

What does Hydrogen Peroxide do to our lungs?
According to Dr Pal, when inhaled, hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with the cilia of our respiratory tract. He explains, “Cilia are microscopic hair-like structures found on the lining of the respiratory tract. It moves and clears mucus and toxic particles protecting the lungs. The problem is, as it is an oxidising agent, it damages the cilia directly.”  This results in cilia losing its capacity to push out the toxic particles, which could lead to potential lung damage, according to the doctor. Recounting the experience with his patient, Dr Pal said, “I was involved in a similar case when a patient presented with shortness of breath and air pocket swelling on chest x-ray, after inhaling hydrogen peroxide. The patient had acute chemical pneumonitis, which got better only with steroids.” The doctor added that due to its antimicrobial activity, hydrogen peroxide has been used for sterilization of medical equipment and also for hospital surfaces as a bleaching product. “Hydrogen peroxide was used for inhalation nebulizer therapy during Covid by many people as a trial,” he said.

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