Can you sweat out a virus? If you have a common cold or congestion, a blocked or runny nose, or other symptoms that come along with the influenza virus you are bound to feel miserable, and you would want this feeling to go away as soon as possible.
In such a scenario when you use any hot treatment it gives you temporary relief but it is not a remedy for the disease.
So, if you feel that sweating out will cure the disease or you can sweat out a cold, then it is not the case at all.
1. What Causes a Cold?
Despite what is commonly believed you do not catch a cold when the weather is very cold and chilly, it usually happens only when there is a season of flu and is caused by a virus that infects your respiratory tract.
The influenza virus infects your body’s cells and then uses its machinery to multiply and spread in your respiratory tract.
When this happens, your body’s immune system is activated and the increased mucous secretion along with the congestion that happens is part of the body’s immune response.
The cold virus is very contagious and spreads very easily, if an infected person’s respiratory droplets come in contact with anybody through any path they will surely catch a cold.
2. Symptoms of Common Cold
Although the symptoms will vary from person to person, and also on the extent of infection one has acquired.
We can safely say that some symptoms are common in all individuals, those are Nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, body pains and weakness, sore throat, fever and body temperature, and dehydration.
You may experience a couple of them at a time or more, sometimes just even one of them and it all depends upon the stages of your cold.
3. Stages of Common Cold
Usually, once you catch a cold it lasts for 6-10 days. Sometimes it can be more or less but broadly this duration can be split into 3 phases :
- Early – This is the time when you’ve just been infected by the virus, it takes time to acquire the machinery of your body’s cells and replicate. Once they have multiplied in adequate numbers you start seeing symptoms. This usually takes two to three days.
- Active – Now the body has been properly infected as the virus has spread across. So, the immune response has initiated and you start feeling more symptoms some due to the virus and others as part of the immune system’s working.
- Lingering – This is the phase where everything is receding. The virus has been tackled by the body’s immune system, the symptoms become lesser. You do not feel the perpetual tiredness and the healing process is almost about to get over. This usually happens anywhere between six to nine days.
4. How to Manage the Symptoms?
The symptoms that accompany the cold are not extreme but it becomes very tiring and troublesome for a whole week.
So, people try different remedies and treatments to cure recovery faster. Let’s take a look at some.
One of the most common ideas that come to sick people is the use of antibiotics to prevent colds.
Now, what you need to understand here is that common colds are caused by viruses and not bacteria and an antibiotic is a drug that works against bacteria and not a virus.
So, do not take any random medication without consulting a doctor.
The body is infected and sick, it needs time and energy for recovery. If you want to work for some time or do any physical activity like light exercise it is okay.
But if you over-exert yourself you will make things worse. The body needs energy focused in one direction and that is to fight against the virus, so rest adequately and do not sweat a lot.
You will feel worse if you are dehydrated, drink plenty of water and other fluids which help you maintain your body’s electrolyte balance as well.
Dehydration during a cold can happen because of different cold symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
Fever and sweating also lead to loss of water from the body. So, make sure you keep yourself very hydrated to get rid of your condition.
Staying hydrated is the most important thing you have to do when you catch a cold.
Water helps in blood flow, it helps when the body temperature rises and it also helps the body fight better as it helps to transport the white blood cells to the infected area.
4.4. Using a Sauna
Although there is little evidence to prove that sauna can cure a cold but if you want to use it because it does provide temporary relief then make sure you do not expose yourself for more than 15-20 minutes.
Before and after the sauna do not consume any food or drinks that could lead to dehydration as a very small time in the sauna also leads to a lot of sweating.
Always rehydrate yourself after a sauna session and let the body cool down gradually, a sudden movement from a hot to cold environment might affect your body negatively.
When you exercise, you sweat. Due to the working of your sweat glands, you feel more active and energized for a small duration.
The reason behind that is exercise leads to increased pumping of blood in your body and this increased circulation helps lessen your cold symptoms. Overdoing it is however not advised.
As it makes you very tired and dehydrated, leaving the body with not enough energy to fight the infection.
5. Final Thoughts
A common cold is a 7-10 day-long illness and there is no such thing as sweating out a cold. Proper care and hydration are the primary things to cure sooner.
Resting well and not exerting too much helps your body to cope better with the virus. In case of any extreme symptoms or your cold lasting too long always consult your healthcare provider.