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Article: Sauna Immunity Boost: How to Use a Sauna for Cold and Flu Relief

Sauna Immunity Boost: How to Use a Sauna for Cold and Flu Relief

Sauna Immunity Boost: How to Use a Sauna for Cold and Flu Relief

Written by Chris Lang

 

Research suggests that sauna bathing dates back almost 7,000 years. However, it has recently become a trendy and widespread practice because of its numerous potential benefits. Saunas offer a natural and sustainable way to boost your immune system. This is because the high temperatures of the sauna help trigger rapid white blood cell production, which is crucial for fighting illnesses.

Sweating is also a great way to improve brain function. Regularly using the sauna has been proven to support mental wellness and minimize the chances of suffering from mental disorders such as dementia. Saunas also relieve the body of distressing symptoms of sinus congestion, flu, and cold. Yet, most people worry that utilizing a sauna when sick may be inappropriate. This article explores whether using a sauna with a fever is safe and beneficial.

Saunas and Their Potential Benefits

There are varied experiences and opinions on the benefits of regular sauna usage. Its potency and ability to help you recover depend on many factors, like the type of sauna you use, the duration of the sauna session, and the temperature setting. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how the sauna can be a great aid to your overall wellness.

Understanding Saunas

A sauna is an enclosed unit where people can sit, lie down, and relax in a high heat environment with variable humidity. These conditions cause sauna bathers to sweat due to the increasing body temperature. To make the most use of a sauna, you should understand the different types of saunas and how they work.

Saunas have been around for centuries. The Finnish people are often credited for the invention of the dry sauna. And it is not for naught. Finland has an estimated three million saunas for its 5.5 million population. However, Turkish hammams, Lithuanian pirtis, Japanese onsens, and Russian banyans also feature similar concepts.

Saunas come in two primary variations: the traditional sauna and the infrared sauna. A good place to explore and shop for these sauna designs is the diverse Komowa collection. They, however, achieve the same results. The only difference is in their functionality. While a traditional sauna heats the air in the room to increase your body temperature, an infrared sauna directly heats your body to raise its core temperature.

Traditional saunas come in two forms: the dry sauna and the steam sauna. A steam room is slightly different from a sauna but is often just a type of wet or steam sauna. It works by pumping steam from a water-filled generator into an enclosed space, creating high humidity conditions.

The dry sauna typically uses an electrical heater to heat rocks placed inside the sauna, warming up the room. In contrast, a steam sauna involves pouring water onto the heated stones to produce vapor, filling up the enclosed space to warm the room and improve humidity conditions. A steam sauna or steam room is ideal for bathers dealing with common colds or respiratory issues.

There is a great correlation between using a sauna and cold symptoms. Regular sauna usage can minimize the chances of contracting a cold. They’re also excellent for relieving cold symptoms. Infrared saunas utilize far-infrared technology to operate. Bathers can stay in the infrared sauna longer because of its low temperatures compared to the traditional sauna. However, they’re meant for indoor use only.

Health Benefits of Sauna Sessions

There are many health benefits of a sauna. When exposed to high-heat conditions in a sauna, your brain, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus produce endorphins. This feel-good hormone combats low energy and works to help you relax and find relief against muscle aches typically associated with sickness. A sauna session can also help improve body temperature through sweating, which helps dissipate heat.

Research suggests that regular sauna bathing can improve heart health. It does this by improving arterial blood flow, ensuring more oxygen reaches the heart. This helps enhance the quality of life for people with coronary artery disease. Heat therapy is the basis of sauna decreasing blood pressure. If you use the steam room frequently, the high temperatures cause the blood vessels to dilate, which helps minimize the risk of hypertension in the long term.

Sauna usage can also enhance your body’s detoxification process by improving blood circulation. This can help boost the immune system by enhancing the production of white blood cells. Steam saunas are popular for providing relief from nasal congestion and colds. The reason is that the hot air helps heat your body and dilates your airway. This helps to drain the mucus that builds up during a viral infection.

Though fevers are a natural body reaction designed to help fight a virus and protect your body against infection, they can place unwarranted stress on your body. This is because a sauna works by raising the core body temperature. While this is great at optimum health, if you already have a fever, the change can affect recovery chances by triggering serious body complications like myocarditis. Be advised that the sauna isn’t a replacement for medical intervention. Ensure you consult your doctor before using a sauna with a fever.

The Connection Between Saunas and Fever

Entering a sauna when sick can help fight cold and flu viruses. Fevers help to boost the immune system naturally. But, it can be inadequate and brings discomfort. Yet, there are some risk implications of using a sauna with a fever. If you want to use the sauna to treat a cold or flu, you should consult your doctor before using the sauna and stick to the safety tips provided.

What Is a Fever?

A fever is the body’s natural response to an illness or infection. This reaction causes a rise in your body temperature, setting it to above 37 degrees Celsius. Fevers are also typically associated with chills, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, and a faster heart rate.

Can You Use a Sauna With a Fever?

When you’re running a fever, the body temperature is usually high. This can point to general cold symptoms or flu. The added heat from a sauna can, therefore, cause heat stress. This is one of the most significant reasons you shouldn’t use it when you have a high temperature. A sauna bath will be most effective once the fever has subsided. It’s also best to avoid the sauna to avoid infecting other people using the units.

Sauna Use When Sick – Risks and Benefits

Evidence exists to support the immense benefits of sauna bathing. Yet, like most things in life, there are some risks in this wellness practice. The section below deeply delves into the good and bad of sauna usage when fighting cold and flu viruses.

Risks of Using a Sauna With a Fever

Both the traditional and Finnish saunas boast very high temperatures. The extreme temperatures can result in dehydration. This is why sauna bathers hydrate when in the room. Sauna usage also increases the core body temperature further. Even though these conditions help to weaken cold and flu viruses, they can cause serious health complications such as arrhythmia.

If your fever is due to a virus, it’s best to avoid public saunas due to a risk of infection. Additionally, since your immune system is strained, you may be more prone to catching another bug.

Sauna use can also be dangerous for people with low blood pressure. High temperature causes blood vessels to expand, which can reduce blood pressure further. Although long-term sauna use can stabilize resting blood pressure, it has short-term risks that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Individuals who have suffered a recent heart attack should also avoid the sauna. Some people are also susceptible to dizziness and nausea due to the extreme temperatures. It’s best to consult a physician before you begin regular sauna use.

Potential Benefits of Sauna When Sick

High temperatures tend to increase the heart rate. You’ll observe the same effect when using a sauna. It’s this minor yet significant change that helps provide several health benefits. Increased heart rate improves blood circulation. This, in turn, helps to reduce muscle aches, enhance joint movement, and lessen pain resulting from health conditions like arthritis.

Sauna use has also been proven to encourage relaxation and improve overall well-being due to excellent blood circulation. This, in turn, reduces an individual’s stress level, reducing the chances of cardiovascular issues. The hot air in the sauna also helps to relieve congestion and open the lung airways, easing distress to people who suffer from respiratory problems like asthma. This also makes the sauna good for sore throat relief. If suffering from psoriasis, using dry saunas can offer comfort. However, it may worsen the condition for those dealing with atopic dermatitis.

Sauna Safety and Precautions 

Moderate sauna usage is safe for most people. Individuals suffering from high blood pressure, respiratory issues, general fatigue, and muscle aches can get in some valuable sauna sessions to help them relax and restore their health to the optimum level. But, there are essential tips to follow to avoid any health complications. Let’s take a closer look at the precautions you should take if you want to use a sauna when sick.

Precautions When Considering Sauna Use With a Fever

Using a sauna may not be ideal in some cases. This is why you should consult your doctor before using it. If you choose to go ahead and use the steam room with a fever, listed below are some precautions you should follow:

  • Avoid alcohol: Consuming alcohol increases the chances of dehydration. A study of the Finnish people revealed that in 1.8% of cases involving sudden death, the person concerned had used a sauna within the last three hours. Many of these people had also consumed alcohol.

  • Moderate your sauna usage: Don’t spend over 30 minutes inside the sauna. Spend a maximum of up to ten minutes when starting. You can increase the duration gradually as your body gets accustomed to the hot sauna.

  • Hydrate: Whether you’re using a traditional sauna, infrared sauna, or a steam room, ensure you take copious amounts of water. This will help to replenish the fluid lost through sweating. It’s best that you hydrate before, during, and after your sauna session.

  • Supervise children: Although children above six can use the sauna, it’s best to monitor them closely and ensure that their sauna session doesn’t exceed 15 minutes.

Conclusion

The potential benefits and risks of regular sauna usage are still being researched. While it appears that it’s safe to use for most people, many purported benefits don’t have scientific backing.

The jury is still out on the question of “Should you use a sauna with a fever? Even though sauna usage has been proven to fight cold and flu viruses to help you recover, it’s not recommended for those suffering from a high fever.

This is why it’s essential that you avoid using the sauna and consult your doctor before using the steam room. You can also browse through the Komowa Academy to learn more on the role of saunas in boosting your immunity.

 

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