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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Heated, humidified air for the common cold

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (97th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (96th percentile)

Mentioned by

13 news outlets
2 blogs
35 tweeters
2 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page
2 video uploaders


18 Dimensions

Readers on

152 Mendeley
Heated, humidified air for the common cold
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd001728.pub6
Pubmed ID

Meenu Singh, Manvi Singh, Nishant Jaiswal, Anil Chauhan


Heated, humidified air has long been used by people with the common cold. The theoretical basis is that steam may help congested mucus drain better and that heat may destroy the cold virus as it does in vitro. This is an update of a review last published in 2013. To assess the effects of inhaling heated water vapour (steam) in the treatment of the common cold by comparing symptoms, viral shedding, and nasal resistance. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (to February 2017), MEDLINE (1966 to 24 February 2017), Embase (1990 to 24 February 2017), and Current Contents (1998 to 24 February 2017). We also searched World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP) (8 March 2017) and ClinicalTrials.gov (8 March 2017) as well as reference lists of included studies. Randomised controlled trials using heated water vapour in participants with the common cold or experimentally induced common cold were eligible for inclusion. We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Three review authors independently screened titles and abstracts for inclusion of potential studies identified from the search. We recorded the selection process in sufficient detail to complete a PRISMA flow diagram. We used a data collection form for study characteristics and outcome data that was developed and used for previous versions of this review. Two review authors independently extracted data, and a third review author resolved any disagreements. We used Review Manager 5 software to analyse data. We included six trials from five publications involving a total of 387 participants. We included no new studies in this 2017 update. The 'Risk of bias' assessment suggested an unclear risk of bias in the domain of randomisation and a low risk of bias in performance, detection, attrition, and reporting.It was uncertain whether heated, humidified air provides symptomatic relief for the common cold, as the fixed-effect analysis showed evidence of an effect (odds ratio (OR) 0.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.16 to 0.56; 2 studies, 149 participants), but the random-effects analysis showed no significant difference in the results (OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.03 to 1.95). There is an argument for using either form of analysis. No studies demonstrated an exacerbation of clinical symptom scores. One study conducted in the USA demonstrated worsened nasal resistance, but an earlier Israeli study showed improvement. One study examined viral shedding in nasal washings, finding no significant difference between treatment and placebo groups (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.04 to 5.19). As judged by the subjective response to therapy (i.e. therapy did not help), the number of participants reporting resolution of symptoms was not significantly higher in the heated humidified group (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.18; 2 studies, 124 participants). There was significant heterogeneity in the effects of heated, humidified air on different outcomes, therefore we graded the quality of the evidence as low. Some studies reported minor adverse events (including discomfort or irritation of the nose). The current evidence does not show any benefits or harms from the use of heated, humidified air delivered via the RhinoTherm device for the treatment of the common cold. There is a need for more double-blind, randomised trials that include standardised treatment modalities.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 35 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 152 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 152 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 19 13%
Researcher 17 11%
Other 16 11%
Student > Master 15 10%
Student > Ph. D. Student 11 7%
Other 32 21%
Unknown 42 28%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 54 36%
Nursing and Health Professions 13 9%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 9 6%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 6 4%
Psychology 5 3%
Other 20 13%
Unknown 45 30%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 131. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 20 August 2021.
All research outputs
of 18,907,259 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,886 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 281,577 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 255 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 18,907,259 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,886 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 26.7. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 281,577 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 255 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its contemporaries.