What is hydrogen peroxide nebulisation and why did Samantha Ruth promote it? Everything about online war of words

More influential voices have started slamming Samantha Ruth for promoting the inhalation of hydrogen peroxide to prevent and treat viral respiratory illnesses after her spat with 'The Liver Doc', including three-time Grammy award winner Ricky Kej and badminton player Jwala Gutta.
Last Updated : 07 July 2024, 08:51 IST

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After three-time Grammy award winner and composer Ricky Kej commented on actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu's response to multi-award winning hepatologist Cyriac Abby Philips' (The Liver Doc) criticism over her advice to inhale hydrogen-peroxide to prevent and treat respiratory viral infections, badminton player Jwala Gutta has stepped into the war of words against Samantha.

In a post on X, Jwala wrote, "My only question to the celeb who’s prescribing a medicine to the huge number of people who are following her… I ustand the intention is to help…. But…just in case... Just in case the prescription doesn’t help and causes a fatality…will u be taking the RESPONSIBILITY too????? Will the doctor who you have tagged also take the RESPONSIBILITY?? (sic)"

But why is hydrogen peroxide nebulisation so controversial as a treatment option and why has Samantha Ruth been promoting it? Here is a primer on the online war of words.

The controversy started when Samantha advised people on social media to inhale hydrogen peroxide via nebulisation as treatment option for viral infections.

Taking to X, The Liver Doc slammed her for her endorsing and called her 'a health and science illiterate'.

He wrote, "Left: Influential Indian actress Ms. Samantha Ruth who is unfortunately a health and science illiterate advising millions of her followers to inhale hydrogen-peroxide to prevent and treat respiratory viral infections. Right: Scientific society, The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, warning people to not nebulize and breathe in hydrogen peroxide because it is dangerous for health."

"In a rational and scientifically progressive society, this woman will be charged with endangering public health and fined or put behind bars. She needs help or a better advisor in her team. Will India's Health Ministry or any health regulatory body do something about these social media health influenzas damaging public health or will they remain spineless and let people die?"

In a response to The Liver Doc's criticism, Samantha on Instagram responded saying that the treatments worked wonderfully for her and that too after lots of trial and error.

Kej replied to Samantha lengthy Instagram post saying, "So the Doctor who attacked you (I cannot see his comments) may have been rude, but he was not completely wrong. One cannot play with people's lives with advice, which is half-baked. Especially people with huge influence. It is not the responsibility of the said Doctor to get in touch with yours. He will rightly respond to you, since you are the one advocating the treatment (sic)."

Actor, director Rahul Ravindran urged The Liver Doc that 'rather than going after her', he should enter a debate with Samantha. On X Rahul wrote, "Dear Doctor, it would have been really nice if you had invited the Doctor she had tagged in her same post to a debate and engaged with him. We would have all learned a lot from it. Would have helped us make up our minds about this alternate therapy. She is science illiterate like a lot of us. No doubt. But she is also someone who does meticulous research about a treatment before taking it. Because it is her own health at stake."

"Shouldn’t you be taking on the Doctors and the organisations that prescribe this to the public and publish articles recommending its effectiveness. They claim it’s effective. You claim it’s not. From covid vaccines to alternate treatments based on science… if the scientific community is so split about opinions… who are we supposed to believe? Especially when both sides of the divide are so sure about their qualified opinions."

Meanwhile, The Liver Doc again tweeted after Samantha post saying, "Ms. Samantha Ruth Prabhu has responded to my "provocative" criticism of her endorsement of unscientific, pseudoscientific and baseless alternative medicine therapies by playing the victim card and endorsing more alternative practices."

"Please note, she is a serial offender in the context of healthcare misinformation, and she has been in the line of fire previously too. The reason why doctors like me have to spend (waste) time from our busy schedules to fight misinformation online is because it is peddled by large influential "celebrity" accounts that have no regard for public health. Engagement and monetization is their concern. Public health and disease prevention is mine. I (we) will be provocative, strongly criticise, be blatant, and brutal with facts because we have no time to waste, catering to emotions."

He further wrote, "I won't be commenting or debunking any of Samantha's future endorsements of pseudoscientific alternative public health endangering posts because, “You can’t help people that don’t want to be helped.” — John Armstrong"

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide is a colourless liquid when kept at room temperature, and nebuliser is a medical device that transforms a liquid into mist which can be inhaled into the lungs.

As the medicines loaded into the device are often corticosteroids like salbutamol (albuterol) dealing with respiratory issues, they are inhaled instead of ingested to target the respiratory tract directly leading to maximum treatment efficiently and quickly.

Can it help in treatments?

Though online sources recommend inhaling a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide for treating lung conditions, but according to a report by Medical News Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved nebulistion of the chemical compound for any medical use.

Hydrogen Peroxide is toxic for human beings if ingested or inhaled or even if it makes contact with eyes or skin.


Inhalation of hydrogen peroxide can lead to nose and throat irritation, lung irritation, pulmonary edema, etc. and ingesting direct hydrogen peroxide or its diluted solutions can result in vomiting, throat irritation, tissue burns, severe stomach upset or pulmonary edema.

These health conditions can be fatal sometimes.

Does it cure chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

People having COPD use nebulisers as it helps to deliver the medication directly to the lungs/respiratory system.

COPD medication include - Bronchodilators, Anti-inflammatories, Combination medications and Antibiotics. So far there has been no study, experts or scientists who have proved that hydrogen peroxide inhalation treats COPD in any way.

According to the publication, the COPD Foundation and Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) have stated that inhalation of nebulised hydrogen peroxide to cure COPD or any other lung conditions is extremely dangerous and can result in severe and serious side effects.

There is also no scientific evidence which states that hydrogen peroxide can prevent or treat Covid-19.

Published 07 July 2024, 08:51 IST

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