Can a Sauna Help With a Cold?
Don't use a sauna if you already have a fever.
Sauna use mimics a fever.
A fever boosts immune system and helps the body fight infection.
A healthy lifestyle is key to improving symptoms of cold or flu.
Cold and flu viruses can wreak havoc on the body's immune system. There are many different ways to improve immune system health and even reduce cold and flu symptoms. Infrared saunas drive blood flow throughout the body, creating an up-regulation of the body's natural healing systems. This could speed up the recovery process of the common cold or flu; however, it is extremely important to maintain proper hydration, especially since sickness likely already dehydrates the body. Additionally, you should never neglect proper rest and a healthy diet for recovery of sickness.
Hydration When You're Sick
Hydration is plays an extremely important role in fighting out sickness. Much more so than sauna usage does. Since a sauna does dehydrate you further, it is extremely important to monitor your hydration levels if you're considering using a sauna for acute symptom reduction. Generally speaking, it may be advised to simply avoid the sauna while you're quite sick because hydration levels will generally be low. Once you've made it past the brute of the sickness, it may be safer to implement regular sauna use then.
Why Does Our Body Fever?
In order to understand why an infrared sauna may benefit you with cold symptoms, it is important to understand why a fever happens and how it benefits us. When the body fevers, it is attempting to kill the virus or bacteria that is running through the body. Additionally, the fever increases heart rate and blood flow throughout the body, which increases immune system function that can help fight off sickness.
Does a Sauna Session Mimic a Fever?
An infrared sauna heats the body from within, elevating core temperature, similarly to what a fever does. This is generally to a lesser extent, typically a longer sauna session could lead to core temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas fevers can certainly be higher. That is to say that sauna sessions are still quite good for fighting of colds or other viruses since they supply better blood circulation to organs and increase immune system health. A sauna session also may help you feel a bit better or even give you some better sleep when sleeping with a cold is difficult.
Since we know that a sauna does mimic a fever, it is important that you're using a sauna prior to actually getting the sickness. This is because you're immune system function will already be heightened which will set you up for a speedy recovery.
Should You Sauna With a Fever?
A sauna session while you have a fever may be counter productive to the healing process of a flu. With already having an elevated body temperature, increasing that further with a sauna will only cause dehydration, which could worsen the symptoms you may be facing. It is advised to only use a sauna while you do not have a fever. This is why sauna use for a cold or general virus may be more common than with the flu.
Does a Steam Room Help a Cold?
Steam rooms are a great tool in speeding up the recovery of respiratory infections or simple sore throats, inhaling hot air that is also moist may help improve lung function and soothe a sore throat. This process is similar to using a humidifier in your room, but also incorporates some of the benefits of sauna in that it will still raise your body temperature, improving recovery and immune system function. With upper respiratory infections, using humid air or hot steam in some manner will certainly help improve symptoms such as chest congestion, runny nose and overall health.
How to Reduce Cold Symptoms
Take time to relax and rest
Reduce sugar intake
Use a sauna when applicable
Attacking a cold or flu can truly be quite simple in most cases. Generally speaking, there are not magic tricks when it comes to rapidly improving symptoms of sickness. Staying hydrated and resting are two key components to cold symptom reduction. It is important to understand that alternative methods such as sauna use or steam rooms may certainly have a somewhat significant impact, but overall basic pillars of health are more important on your path to recovery.