Sweating it out: Can a Sauna Help with a Cold?

When the cold weather hits, it’s common to experience symptoms of the common cold. While rest and plenty of fluids are often recommended, some people turn to saunas as a potential remedy for their cold symptoms. But does sweating it out in a sauna actually help when you’re feeling under the weather? In this article, we’ll explore the potential benefits and risks of using a sauna when you have a cold.

What is a Sauna?

A sauna is a small room or building designed to provide dry or wet heat sessions, typically heated with rocks or a stove. The room is typically constructed with wooden walls and benches, and the temperature is usually kept between 70-100 degrees Celsius (158-212 degrees Fahrenheit). Saunas are used for relaxation, health benefits, and socializing. They are found in various settings, including public health clubs, hotels, and spas, as well as in some private homes.

The practice of using saunas has been around for thousands of years, with evidence of sauna-like structures found in ancient civilizations such as the Mayans and the Greeks. Today, saunas are used all over the world and are known for their therapeutic benefits.

Symptoms of a Cold

The common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, throat, and sinuses. It is one of the most common illnesses in the world, with millions of cases occurring every year. Cold symptoms can be mild to severe and can affect daily life in a number of ways.

Symptoms of a cold typically start with a sore throat, which is followed by nasal congestion, a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Other common symptoms include a low-grade fever, body aches, and fatigue. These symptoms can last for several days to a week or more, depending on the severity of the infection.

The severity of cold symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Some people may only experience mild symptoms, while others may have more severe symptoms that last for several days or even weeks. In addition, people who have weakened immune systems or who are more susceptible to colds, such as young children and the elderly, may experience more severe symptoms.

The symptoms of a cold can also have a significant impact on daily life. Nasal congestion and a runny nose can make it difficult to breathe, while coughing and sneezing can be disruptive and make it hard to concentrate or sleep. Fatigue and body aches can also make it difficult to carry out normal activities, such as work or exercise.

Overall, while a cold is generally a mild illness, its symptoms can be uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life. It is important to take steps to manage symptoms and prevent the spread of the virus to others.

The Benefits of Sauna Use

Sauna use has been linked to a wide range of benefits for physical and mental health. Here are some of the most notable benefits:

  1. Improved cardiovascular health: Sauna use has been shown to improve cardiovascular health by increasing heart rate and improving blood circulation. This can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  2. Reduced inflammation: Sauna use has been found to reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to a variety of health problems including chronic pain, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders.
  3. Better respiratory function: Sauna use can help open up airways and improve respiratory function, making it easier to breathe.
  4. Increased relaxation and stress relief: Saunas can provide a relaxing and calming environment that can help reduce stress and improve mood.
  5. Improved skin health: Sauna use can help improve skin health by increasing blood flow to the skin, promoting cell renewal, and flushing out toxins.
  6. Boosted immune system: Sauna use has been shown to help boost the immune system by increasing production of white blood cells, which can help fight off illness and disease.
  7. Weight loss: Sauna use can help with weight loss by increasing heart rate and metabolism, as well as by promoting sweating, which can help flush out toxins and excess water weight.

It is important to note that these benefits may vary from person to person, and that sauna use should be approached with caution for individuals with certain health conditions or who are pregnant. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using a sauna, particularly if you have any medical concerns.

 The Risks of Sauna Use

While there are many benefits associated with sauna use, it is important to be aware of the potential risks as well. Some of the risks of sauna use include:

  1. Dehydration: Sauna use can lead to sweating and a loss of fluids, which can result in dehydration if fluids are not replenished.
  2. Overheating: Spending too much time in a sauna can lead to overheating, which can cause a number of health problems.
  3. Low blood pressure: Sauna use can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people with low blood pressure or those who are taking medication to lower their blood pressure.
  4. Dizziness and fainting: The heat and humidity of a sauna can cause dizziness and fainting in some people, especially if they are dehydrated or have low blood pressure.
  5. Respiratory problems: People with respiratory problems such as asthma may experience difficulty breathing in the sauna, which can worsen their condition.
  6. Skin irritation: The heat and humidity of a sauna can cause skin irritation in some people, especially those with sensitive skin.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional before using a sauna, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medication. It is also important to follow sauna safety guidelines, such as limiting your time in the sauna and staying hydrated. If you experience any adverse effects from sauna use, such as dizziness or shortness of breath, stop using the sauna and seek medical attention.

 Saunas and Colds: Can They Help?

Saunas have been used for centuries for their potential health benefits, including relaxation and detoxification. Some people believe that saunas may also be helpful for treating a cold, but what is the science behind this claim?

First, it’s important to understand that a cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. It typically causes symptoms such as congestion, cough, sore throat, and fatigue. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are various treatments that can help manage symptoms and speed up recovery.

One potential benefit of sauna use for colds is its ability to promote sweating. Sweating is a natural way for the body to release toxins, and it may also help to reduce congestion by opening up the pores in the skin. Additionally, some studies have suggested that sauna use may boost the immune system, which could potentially help the body fight off the cold virus.

However, it’s important to note that saunas may not be suitable for everyone, and there are potential risks involved. Sauna use can cause dehydration, which can exacerbate cold symptoms such as a sore throat and dry cough. Additionally, saunas may cause dizziness or lightheadedness, which could be dangerous for people who are already feeling unwell.

It’s also important to consider the timing of sauna use. If you have a fever, it’s best to avoid saunas altogether, as the high heat can worsen your fever and potentially lead to more serious complications. Furthermore, if you are still in the early stages of a cold, it’s best to wait until your symptoms have started to improve before using a sauna.

Overall, while there may be some potential benefits to using a sauna for colds, it’s important to approach this treatment with caution. If you are considering using a sauna to manage your cold symptoms, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider first to determine whether it’s a safe option for you. Additionally, it’s always important to stay hydrated and to listen to your body’s signals when using a sauna, as overexposure to heat can be dangerous.

  Using a Sauna Safely with a Cold: Tips and Precautions

Saunas have been used for centuries for their therapeutic benefits, including relaxation, improved circulation, and relief from muscle pain. Many people also use saunas to help alleviate symptoms of the common cold. However, it’s important to take certain precautions when using a sauna while you have a cold to ensure that you don’t worsen your symptoms or put yourself at risk of other health issues.

Here are some tips for using a sauna safely with a cold:

  1. Check with your doctor: If you have a cold, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before using a sauna. This is especially important if you have other health conditions that may be affected by the heat, such as high blood pressure or heart problems.
  2. Stay hydrated: It’s important to stay hydrated before, during, and after using a sauna. This is particularly important if you have a cold, as dehydration can worsen your symptoms. Drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session to help replenish fluids lost through sweating.
  3. Limit your time in the sauna: When you have a cold, it’s important to limit your time in the sauna. The heat can cause your nasal passages to become dry and irritated, making it more difficult to breathe. Additionally, spending too much time in the sauna can lead to dehydration, which can exacerbate cold symptoms. Start with a shorter session, such as 5-10 minutes, and gradually work your way up to longer sessions as your symptoms improve.
  4. Take breaks: It’s important to take breaks and cool down in between sauna sessions. This can help prevent overheating and dehydration. You can cool down by taking a cold shower, splashing cold water on your face, or simply stepping outside of the sauna for a few minutes.
  5. Avoid alcohol and drugs: It’s important to avoid alcohol and drugs, including over-the-counter medications, before and after using a sauna. These substances can increase your risk of dehydration and may interact with the heat, putting you at risk of other health issues.
  6. Listen to your body: If you feel uncomfortable or experience any symptoms such as dizziness or nausea, it’s important to leave the sauna immediately. These symptoms can indicate that you’re overheating or dehydrated, which can be dangerous.

Overall, using a sauna can be a helpful way to alleviate the symptoms of a cold, but it’s important to take precautions to ensure that you use the sauna safely. By following these tips, you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the sauna while minimizing your risk of complications. Remember to always check with your doctor before using a sauna, especially if you have underlying health conditions.


While using a sauna may provide some relief for cold symptoms, it’s important to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and take proper precautions before using one. Additionally, a sauna should not be the sole remedy for a cold, and it’s important to also focus on rest and proper hydration to support the body’s natural healing process. If you’re considering using a sauna while you have a cold, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional first.