Taking a sauna strengthens the immune system. But what if the cold is approaching? Taking a cold to the sauna is not the best idea.
A good 25 million people in Germany go to the sauna now and then or regularly. Almost every wellness hotel or swimming pool in Germany offers a sauna area for its guests. Athletes like to regenerate their muscles after training in the sweat baths, stressed people find relaxation there and let their soul dangle. Last but not least, doctors recommend visiting the sauna as an excellent means of strengthening the immune system. But if a flu-like infection or even flu is announced, a visit to the sauna can do a lot of damage.
Taking a sauna when a cold starts
The first signs of a cold are often a slight chill and a scratchy throat: Is this why you should not go to the sauna? This is out of the question for many experienced sauna visitors. In fact, the sauna provides cozy warmth and if the body is used to regular saunas, it usually copes with the additional stress caused by the heat quite well. On the other hand, those who only rarely go to the sauna should not weaken their body any further and wait until the symptoms of the illness have completely subsided before taking a sauna.
If you have a cold you better go to a sauna with high humidity!
The Finnish sauna is too dry!
However, the very dry air in the classic Finnish sauna is problematic: the humidity here is only 10 to 20 percent. This also dries out the attacked mucous membranes and thus promotes the cold. It is therefore better to go to a bio sauna: Here the humidity is around 50 percent and the temperature is a little less high. A steam bath is even better: here the humidity is almost 100 percent and the temperature is only 45 degrees.
Public saunas are taboo even with mild colds! The risk of infection for other guests is too high!
Risk of infection for other sauna guests
However, there is one thing that speaks against going to the sauna with a cold: In a steam or bio sauna, the viruses find the best conditions to spread. They love the high humidity and the temperature isn’t high enough yet to inactivate them. It is therefore quite inconsiderate when you visit a public sauna: after all, the other guests want to do something for their health and not get infected with you. If, on the other hand, you have a private sauna available, nothing speaks against a short sweat bath if you have mild cold symptoms.
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Most important sauna rule: Don’t overdo it!
When a cold starts, the immune system runs at full speed. Your body now needs a lot of energy to fight the pathogens. So that he can fulfill this important function, you have to take care of him. Make sure to shorten the sauna sessions and do not sit on the top step. You should also avoid the ice-cold shower afterwards and the plunge pool. It is better to take a lukewarm shower and give the body enough time to slowly cool down again and sweat well. If you notice during the sauna that you are feeling dizzy or nauseous or that your pulse rises sharply, then stop using the sauna! These are clear signs that you are overloading your body – it harms recovery and can also have serious medical consequences.
Taking a sauna with the flu is dangerous!
If the cold has broken out in full or if it is a “real” virus flu, you belong in bed and definitely not in the sauna. Taking a sauna can briefly increase body temperature to up to 40 degrees. The organism tries to lower this temperature again by sweating. That means super stress and top performance for him. If a cold is in full swing, it can simply overwhelm him.
In the case of a severe cold or flu, there is a risk of serious health damage in the sauna! Life-threatening consequences cannot be ruled out either!
Extremely dangerous: taking a sauna with a fever
It gets worse if your body temperature is already raised by a fever. You drive your body into the red zone with a sauna visit: you can lose consciousness and in the worst case the sauna visit even ends fatally. Short saunas or visits to the steam bath or bio sauna are also strongly discouraged during this phase of the disease.
Your body really needs rest now and all the energy it has available to get healthy. If you do not give him the necessary rest, the disease will worsen and last significantly longer. You are also at risk of developing myocarditis. Cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure (decreased cardiac output) or even sudden cardiac death can be the long-term consequences of this.
Effective home remedies and medication for respiratory infections
Winter time is flu time. There are many home remedies, and there are many more medications – but which of them really helps and which cure does more harm than good?
Sweating isn’t the problem
Some swear by sweating out a cold. It should not be confused here, however, that sweating in the sauna causes different stresses than when you lie warmly wrapped up on the sofa.
Sweating is not per se unhealthy when you have a cold: If you sweat against the cold with rest and sufficient fluid intake, for example with tea or water, you do not overload your body and help you to cope with the viruses.
That is why a visit to the sauna is so healthy
Sweat baths not only make you feel better, they can also reduce the risk of serious illnesses.
After the cold: when to go back to the sauna?
Even the most stubborn cold will eventually pass. To be on the safe side, you wait two to three days before going back to the sauna. When you go to the sauna for the first time, you don’t have to expect to keep up with old records: As is generally the case with sauna, the following applies, especially after recovering from a cold: you can stay in as long as you feel good. Don’t set yourself ambitious goals like “I want to do 15 minutes today”.
Sauna is not a competitive sport!
Taking a sauna is not about showing performance, but about doing something good for your body: through relaxation, rest, warmth and gentle sweat training as well as alternating between heat and cold stimuli.
Become a regular sauna-goer now
If you have just got over your cold and have not been a sauna fan before, you should now consider whether you will be a regular sauna visitor: The change between hot and cold keeps your blood circulation going and teaches your body to get used to large temperature differences – to harden him. The effect: You get sick less often and the illnesses are also much less severe. According to studies, the number of infections is halved after three months with regular sauna visits once a week. So sauna is a good prophylaxis.