Rales are crackling sounds, heard when a person listens to the lungs with a stethoscope. There are many causes of rales but what they have in common is, 1) an increase in liquid in the lungs (water, pus, excessive mucus) or, 2) fibrosis of the lungs. If the rales are on the basis of mucous that is not being cleared because of a disease of the body’s normal clearing mechanism and/or because of abnormally tenacious mucous, then the answer is yes, to the extent that steam may thin the mucous and make it more readily clearable.
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