Why Sweating Out a Cold Doesn’t Work
There are many ways a person may attempt to sweat out a cold, such as inhaling warm steam, going to a sauna or exercising heavily. Though some of these methods may relieve nasal congestion temporarily, neither one of them will actually help you get rid of the common cold faster.
In fact, the very idea that sweating can help people get rid of the rhinovirus stems from one 2015 study on mice, determining that the virus thrives in temperatures below 98.6°F (37°C), which is hardly enough evidence to say anything about the benefits of sweating in humans.
Admittedly, there are also some medicinal traditions that suggest sweating is beneficial for cold symptoms, but there are no findings apart from the above-mentioned study to support that claim.
In fact, some of these methods may actually do more harm than good. At-home steam inhalation, for example, has been shown to cause burns, despite providing temporary relief from congestion. In fact, the study points out that in Denmark alone, there are at least three annual cases of severe burns admitted to hospitals as a result of steam inhalations. This is just tragic, especially knowing that a long warm shower can relieve congestion just as well, but without the risk of complications.
Visiting a sauna, on the other hand, is not dangerous per se, but is ineffective at improving cold symptoms, though it has been shown to prevent colds.
Finally, exercising when you’re sick is a double-edged sword. On one hand, mild exercise has been reported to prevent colds and give temporary relief of nasal congestion, but on the other hand, it can be very tiring, especially if your cold is not mild.
The bottom line is that you can exercise when you have mild cold symptoms, such as a runny nose, but if you have a cough, fever, chills and muscle pain, it’s best to skip exercise.
The Concerns With Excessive Sweating During a Cold
The main concern with increased sweating is that it promotes dehydration, something that you want to avoid at all costs. As a matter of fact, the main piece of advice you’ll hear from every doctor is that you should stay hydrated while fighting the common cold, and sweating goes blatantly against that advice.
If you’re wondering why you have to drink plenty of fluids during a cold, it’s to help your body flush out germs and loosen the mucus, both of which are essential for a quick recovery. For the same reason, doctors regularly advise avoiding dehydrating foods, such as coffee or alcohol, as well as dry foods, such as chips, during recovery from a cold.
Related Article: These 9 Foods and Drinks Should Be Avoided When Ill
Apart from that, all these exhausting activities you’re willing to undertake just to start sweating may actually make you even more fatigued than you already are, which isn’t a good idea, as it will further weaken your immune system. So, if you happen to catch a cold, all you have to remember is ‘No sweat, lots of rest and even more hydration’. Take care!