Are Steam Rooms Good for Colds? Benefits, Risks & Tips

Are Steam Rooms Good for Colds? Benefits, Risks & Tips

Getting stuck with a stuffy nose, sore throat and hacking coughs from a viral or bacterial cold represents one of life’s recurring annoyances. When facing the misery of congestion, many people wonder if using a steam room while sick might offer symptom relief and shorten infection duration.

Below we analyze both the potential healing benefits and medical risks of using a sauna or steam room when battling colds or similar sinus-congesting illnesses. Read on for doctor-reviewed guidance helping you make wise decisions around steam therapy while contending with common colds.

How Can Steam Rooms Help Alleviate Cold Symptoms?

Steam rooms provide moist heat that can effectively loosen thick mucus secretions clogging the delicate linings of nasal and bronchial respiratory tracts when you get sick. Here’s how it works:

As you inhale the hot, humid air into lung passages, the warmth liquefies sticky phlegm accumulations stuck inside tissue walls. This allows more forcefully coughing up the gunk irritating membranes and obstructing air flow. Removing this mucus detritus can help you breathe more freely.

The improved airflow relief also often reduces inflammation-related coughing and sore throats. And opening clogged sinuses may limit headaches and related cold miseries as pressure dissipates.Know more about leading auna steam room installation company Dubai.

Additionally, sweating out a fever assists bringing down elevated body temperatures helping you feel better generally. The infrared wavelengths inside steam rooms may also deactivate some opportunistic bacteria exacerbating symptoms.

For those reasons, sitting in a steam room 20 to 40 minutes could work wonders relieving discomforts when colds or flu strike if used judiciously. Just take care not to get overheated and remain vigilant for any adverse reactions.

Do Doctors Recommend Using Steam Rooms with Colds?

Whether doctors condone using saunas and steam rooms while congested depends greatly on the specific medical scenario according to Dr. Alice Holland, MD with over 20 years of clinical practice.

“For otherwise healthy teens and adults without complicating disorders, enjoying limited steam room sessions when battling common head colds generally poses little risks,” Holland states. However, she urges careful monitoring of body responses to not worsen symptoms.

“The warm moisture can effectively loosen thick mucus secretions obstructing sinus and bronchial passageways allowing easier breathing,” she explains. “Just be cautious not overheating already feverish bodies.”

However Dr. Holland notes certain cardiac, respiratory, pregnant and elderly categories should completely avoid hot steam rooms when ill to avoid medical crises. We will overview those warnings next.

What Risks Exist Using Steam Rooms with Colds?

While steam rooms may benefit cold care for many users, several vulnerable health populations should steer clear of moist heat therapy when sick. Specifically:

Heart Disease & High Blood Pressure Patients

The cardiovascular stress of heat exposure and dehydration from sweating may overtax weakened hearts. Hypertension also amplifies the risk of heat stroke or dizzy spells causing dangerous fainting and falls.

Chronic Respiratory Disease Sufferers

Victims of asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis and other breathing conditions face increased odds of triggering attacks struggling to oxygenate already inflamed airways.

Very Young Children & Elderly Seniors

Immune-compromised youth and aging demographics more easily succumb to hyperthermia, dehydration or exaggerated symptoms amplified by environmental steam heat stress.

Pregnant Mothers

Ob/gyns worry elevated core body temperatures from prolonged hot steam exposure may dangerously raise risks of birth defects or miscarriage for delicate fetal development in early stages especially.

Outside those categories, typical adults and older kids tolerant of saunas when healthy likely can cautiously benefit using steam rooms briefly when battling average cold symptoms. But all users should note any negative reactions for prudent steaming durations.

8 Tips for Safely Using Steam Rooms with Colds

Follow these best practice tips minimizing risks and maximizing benefits if you try using sauna or steam room facilities while sick:

  • Carefully Hydrate – Drink electrolyte water before and after sessions to counter dehydration
  • Start Low – Begin with just 5-10 minutes at first to gauge body reactions before slowly increasing time
  • Lower Temperature – Have staff lower thermostat closer to 100°F to minimize heat strain on already taxed bodies
  • Add Menthol – Ask for eucalyptus or menthol oil infusions amplifying nasal/sinus decongestion effects
  • Rest After – Avoid exercise or alcohol after steaming to help body cool down fully before resuming normal activities
  • Prevent Overheating – Monitor for nausea, headaches or dizziness indicating you should exit room
  • Consider Medical Options – Try oral decongestants, anti-inflammatories or antibiotics if symptoms seem beyond a simple virus
  • When Very Sick – Listen to your body and avoid saunas completely to allow full recovery

Carefully listening to your body’s signals remains vital when pushing through a rough cold. Stop all steam room use if experiencing any adverse effects or complications arise requiring medical intervention.

Top 5 Steam Room Health Benefits FAQs

Still have questions around whether using saunas or steam rooms while sick might accelerate getting over annoying colds faster? Below we answer the top 5 most frequently asked questions:

Can you get rid of a cold faster with a steam room?

Potentially yes. The moist warmth helps thin out thick mucus secretions clogging delicate sinus and lung passageways. This allows forcefully ejecting out viral and bacteria colonies irritating tissue which may modestly shorten average cold duration. Just beware overheating risks.

Is a steam room good for sinus infection?

Steam rooms should be avoided completely with acute bacterial sinus infections until completing antibiotic regimens. The heat may worsen inflammation before infections fully clear. However steam therapy gently helps alleviate lingering sinus pressure and stuffiness after infections resolve.

Can you go in a steam room with chest congestion?

Using steam rooms moderately may offer relief comforts for mild chest congestion symptoms associated with average colds. However, individuals facing difficulty breathing, chronic conditions like asthma/COPD or pneumonia require avoiding steam completely to prevent medical crises until illnesses pass under doctor care.

Is a steam room good for ear infection or swimmer’s ear?

No – The heat, moisture and pressure changes of steam rooms could worsen inner ear discomforts and fluid buildups associated with outer ear infections like swimmer’s ear or middle ear infections. Avoid steam/sauna therapy completely until ear infections heal fully under medical treatment.

Can you get sick from a steam room or sauna?

Yes – Using public gym steam rooms harbors some risks for transmitting illness causing pathogens when other sick users have recently occupied the space. However most bacteria and viruses poorly tolerate steam room heat and humidity. Carefully clean facilities using antimicrobial soap/alcohol before seating and avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth until bathing post-steam.


Using sauna and steam rooms represent a longstanding home remedy for attempting to alleviate congestion miseries associated with common colds, allergies and sinus troubles. The logic holds that moist warming air loosens mucus secretions obstructing breathing passageways helping forcefully eject out the junk. This may modestly shorten illness duration – or at least ease stuffy discomforts.

However, those with underlying medical conditions like heart disease and respiratory disorders should avoid steam completely when ill to prevent exacerbating problems. Additionally, overheating presents universal risks possibly worsening cold symptoms further or resulting in complications.

Carefully hydrating plus listening to warning signs allows most adults cautiously leverage steam room sessions for natural cold symptom relief when used prudently. Just 15-20 minutes of gentle warmth may offer easy breathing comforts without pushing limits. But let your doctor conclusively decide if steam therapy aligns with your medical status when facing illness states.

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