There may be a "missing piece" to this story. You might want to contact the physician and ask him/her the reason. Generally a steam inhaler, using sterilized water is helpful with no contraindications. For some patients there is psychological relief. Some so-called "steam" inhalers use lower-temperature water and an ultrasonic oscillator to produce the mist. In this case bacteria can be aerosolized. It is possible to "overuse" these inhalers and develop fluid in the lungs, which is undesireable. If the water is sterilized, and it makes her feel better, and there is no evidence of infection or fluid acumulation in the lungs, there should be no reason not to use one.
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