Will a Steam Room Help Cold and Flu Symptoms?

By Allison Davis

One of the most common uses of a steam room is to relax after a hard workout. Sitting in the warm steam causes the body to heat up and sweat out all the body's toxins and helps to relax the muscles. Steam rooms are also common in spas, to relax people. In this article, we'll explore a lesser known way that a steam room can be used - to ease discomfort of cold and flu symptoms.

Woman wearing towels

One of the most common uses of a steam room is to relax after a hard workout. Sitting in the warm steam causes the body to heat up and sweat out all the body's toxins and helps to relax the muscles. Steam rooms are also common in spas, to relax people. In this article, we'll explore a lesser known way that a steam room can be used - to ease discomfort of cold and flu symptoms.

Cold

Woman with a cold

One of the most common symptoms of the cold is congestion. The tight feeling in your chest and your stuffy nose can make colds feel unbearable. A steam room would be beneficial to help with those symptoms, as well as helping to get the cold out of your body.

Sitting in a steam room and inhaling the steam will help to ease the congestion by opening up your nose. It will have the same effect as a humidifier would, except it would be more intense as there will be much more steam. The heat from the steam loosens up the mucus in your nose and chest and relief the stuffiness. If you are in a position where you can add oils to the water source of the steam, this will help also. Oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary can aid your decongestion process, when added to the water. They also make the steam smell more fragrant.

You will be able to breathe much easier after using a steam room, however your nose will be runny from being opened.

One home remedy for colds is to sweat the cold out of your system. A steam room can do this as well. If you sit in a steam room, your body will heat up and begin to sweat. Sweating profusely may help to bring the cold out of your body, but you should be sure to keep yourself properly hydrated before and after using the steam room.

Flu

In bed with the flu

Unlike a cold, many people do not experience congestion or stuffy noses with the flu. However, if you are experiencing this, the steam room can help by doing the same things as noted in the section above.

One common symptom of the flu that a steam room can aid are body aches. When you have the flu, your body is often sore and achy due to the virus in your system. Sitting in a steam room when experiencing these body aches will relax and soothe your discomfort. The steam from the room will warm up your body and cause your body to loosen up. When your body relaxes and loosens up, some of the discomfort you're experiencing will begin to lessen.

Alternatives

Steam from shower

If you would like to use a steam room while sick and have problems accessing one, there are several other ways you can get the same benefits.

Running a hot shower in your home bathroom and closing the door creates a steam room atmosphere. Once the bathroom has filled up with steam from the shower, you can begin to use your bathroom like a steam room. Humidifiers and neti pots are like steam rooms on a smaller scale. However, unlike steam rooms, your whole body is not immersed in the steam. Breathing into humidifiers and neti pots will allow you to use the steam to decongest your nasal passages, but they will not help for sweating out a cold or flu or body aches.

References

About the Author

Allison Davis has been writing professionally since 1999. Her work has appeared on various websites and in publications such as "La Prensa" and "The Hilltop." She writes beauty articles, covering topics from makeup to hair products. She also works for a network television news show in New York. Davis holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Howard University,

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