Sauna When Sick With Flu: Is It Safe or Risky?

Visiting a sauna when sick with the flu can provide relief but should be approached cautiously. Stay hydrated, monitor symptoms, and avoid if fever is high.

Using a sauna when sick might help you feel better because hot liquids can soothe cold symptoms. It’s usually safe to go in a sauna if you’re feeling under the weather. For centuries, saunas have been known to ease all kinds of sickness. Recent studies show they can cut down on the time it takes to get over the flu or a cold.1 Saunas are thought to work by helping the body get rid of toxins. Some experts even guess that the heat might make it harder for viruses to survive.1 Plus, people who regularly use saunas tend to get sick less often.1 Although we’re not exactly sure how it works, many believe it’s because saunas and steam rooms boost the immune system.

Key Takeaways

  • Saunas can help minimize cold and flu symptoms and reduce recovery time.
  • Regular sauna use may reduce the frequency of colds and strengthen the immune system.
  • Caution is advised for individuals with heart, circulation, or respiratory issues, as well as pregnant women.
  • Proper hydration before, during, and after sauna use is crucial when sick.
  • Limiting sauna sessions to 30 minutes or less is recommended when fighting the flu.

Understanding Saunas and Their Potential Benefits

Learning about saunas means knowing there are two main kinds: traditional and infrared.2 Traditional saunas heat the air, which can get as hot as 100°C (212°F), and keep the humidity low.2 Infrared saunas, on the other hand, use light to directly warm your body. They are cooler, from 40°C to 60°C (104°F to 140°F), making it easier to enjoy the heat.2

Types of Saunas: Traditional vs. Infrared

Both types of saunas make your body heat up and sweat.2 This can help with many things, like getting rid of bad stuff in your body, calming swelling, and making your immune system stronger.3 Studies show that infrared saunas might make you feel better and help you get well faster when you’re sick.3

How Saunas Work: Raising Body Temperature and Promoting Sweating

Sauna heat makes your body react in helpful ways. You start breathing deeper, your heart beats faster, and your blood vessels get bigger.2 This makes you sweat and releases endorphins, which can make you feel good. It also relaxes your muscles and your breathing, helping with things like bronchitis and asthma.2 Plus, saunas might help your body make more white blood cells, which fight off colds and flu.2

Using saunas over time can make you feel less stiff, more relaxed, and improve how well your muscles heal.2 It can also lower swelling in your muscles and joints. This is especially good news for people with arthritis or fibromyalgia.2

Potential Benefits of Saunas When Sick With the Flu

A sauna can be helpful when you have the flu. It makes you sweat a lot. This can help unclog your nose and make breathing easier.4 Also, saunas might stop your body from swelling up. So, you’ll feel less sore and hot.

The sauna’s heat can make your body fight the flu better. It does this by making more white blood cells. It also helps your body use shock proteins. These protect you from the flu.45

Improving Drainage and Relieving Congestion

Saunas make a lot of heat and wet air. This helps thin out and move mucus. So, your nose feels less stuffed up. Breathing gets easier.4 This is great for anyone with the flu. It can really help you feel better.

Reducing Inflammatory Responses

A sauna’s high heat can calm down your swollen body parts. This can make you hurt less and feel cooler.4 The heat makes your body fight the flu differently. It releases stuff that fights swelling. This makes you feel better all over.

Boosting Immune System Function

Heat from a sauna helps make things your body uses to fight the flu. It makes cells and proteins that save you from getting really sick.5 With more of these helpers, your body can kick the flu out quicker. This means your flu won’t be as bad.5

For those with the flu, a sauna can do a lot to help. But, you must be smart about it. There are some things to watch out for when you’re not well. We’ll talk about that next.

Risks and Precautions for Using Saunas When Sick

Saunas can be good when you have the flu, but they also have risks. You might get dehydrated from sweating too much. This can make your symptoms worse.2 The high heat in saunas might make your fever and other flu signs worse too.2 This is especially true for those with heart or lung issues. They could see more problems from using a sauna when sick.

Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance

Saunas cause a lot of sweating, which can dry you out and mess with your electrolytes. This may not help you feel better if you’re already low on fluids and electrolytes.2 Such a situation might make your flu symptoms hang around longer.

Potential Exacerbation of Fever and Other Symptoms

In saunas, the heat might not be good for everyone. For some, it could worsen fever and other flu signs.2 If you already have breathing or immune issues, this can be even more risky. The heat might stress your body and make things harder.

risks of sauna when sick

Risk FactorPotential Impact
DehydrationExacerbation of flu symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, and headaches
Electrolyte ImbalanceMuscle cramps, nausea, and irregular heartbeat
Exacerbation of FeverIncreased discomfort and potential worsening of illness
Respiratory ConditionsDifficulty breathing, chest congestion, and risk of pneumonia
Cardiovascular IssuesIncreased strain on the heart, potential for arrhythmias
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sauna when sick with flu

Using a sauna when you have the flu is tricky. The heat can help some symptoms by making you sweat and improving drainage.6 But, the intense heat and the risk of getting dehydrated might make your illness worse.6 So, think about the good and bad, and be careful with using saunas when you’re flu-stricken.

Infrared saunas, steam rooms, and the like might boost your immune system, helping you fight colds and flu.6 Yet, if you’re pregnant or have heart issues, these saunas aren’t safe for you. Always check with a doctor before using one.6 Remember, not more than 30 minutes in there and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.6

Using a sauna when you’re sick with the flu could mimic the benefits of exercise.4 It can make your heart and veins healthier, which is good for your blood flow.4 Some studies say regular sauna trips mean less risk of catching a cold. Also, a little heat can make your immune system work better against colds.4

On the whole, using a sauna when you have the flu could be a plus. But, remember to be cautious and follow safety steps. Talking to your doctor and sticking to the sauna’s rules can guide you on if it’s okay for you. When it comes to beating the flu, being smart about it is key.

Timing and Duration of Sauna Sessions When Sick

Using a sauna when you have the flu means being careful about timing and how long you stay in. Sauna session length when sick should be less than 30 minutes. This is because staying longer can make you lose too much water, leading to dehydration.7 It is best to spend 15 to 20 minutes inside to get the benefits without pushing your body too hard.7

Recommended Session Length

It is key to watch the recommended sauna session duration when sick. The heat and sweating can make you lose a lot of water fast, making you dehydrated.8 Sauna use is known to help with congestion caused by colds. It might even clear your breathing within a week. This is great for improving your respiratory system’s health.8

Frequency of Sauna Use

Don’t use the sauna too often when you’re sick. A few times a week is what most experts advise while fighting the flu. Sauna use can quickly boost your immune system, which is great for those with weak immunity. This shows how the sauna can really help you get healthier.8

Remembering when and how much to use the sauna when you’re sick helps a lot.7 Saunas can’t push viruses out of your body directly. But they do help your immune system work better, which might make fighting viruses easier when you’re taking your medicine.7

Hydration and Sauna Use While Sick

It’s key to stay hydrated when sick and using a sauna. The extra sweat can make you lose water fast. This loss can make the flu worse and stress your body more.1 Drink plenty of water pre-sauna, during, and after.1

Importance of Staying Hydrated

It’s wise to keep drinking water all day, especially when you’re sick. Doing this helps keep your body fluids balanced and is key for avoiding too much sweat and a sauna.1 Managing sweat and water well will keep you from losing liquid too quickly.3

Drinking Water Before, During, and After Sauna Sessions

It’s a must to drink plenty of water around sauna times. This keeps your fluids and mineral levels right.1 Always focus on staying well-hydrated around your sauna sessions.3

Sauna Safety for Specific Populations

Saunas can be good for flu recovery, but some people need to be careful or avoid them altogether.4 This group includes pregnant women, those with heart issues, and people with breathing problems. They face extra risks from saunas due to the high heat and chances of getting dehydrated.

Pregnant Women and Sauna Use

Expecting mothers should think twice about going into a sauna when sick with the flu. The intense heat can harm the growing baby and cause problems. It’s best for them to check with their doctors before having sauna sessions.

Individuals with Cardiovascular Conditions

4 Saunas can be great for heart health and better circulation. But for those with heart problems already, saunas might not be safe. They could make symptoms worse or cause serious issues. It’s wise to get a doctor’s take on using a sauna if flu is in the picture.

Individuals with Respiratory Conditions

7 Research proves that saunas can clear out respiratory issues by unclogging the airways. For people already dealing with breathing problems, though, saunas may not help. They could actually make things worse. Doctors might suggest avoiding saunas or only using them very briefly when ill with the flu.

For folks not feeling well, doctors might say to steer clear of saunas or only use them for a short while. It’s key for these at-risk groups to talk to their healthcare experts before taking on sauna therapy. This helps keep them safe and their health in check.

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Alternatives to Saunas for Respiratory Relief

If saunas are not an option, there are other ways to ease breathing when sick with the flu.9 Using steam inhalation by a humidifier or enjoying a hot shower’s steam can be helpful. It loosens mucus, making it simpler to breathe.10 Decongestants found over the counter can also be useful for a break from nasal and sinus stuffiness. But remember, use them carefully and follow the guidelines.

Steam Inhalation

Enjoying the benefits of steam is straightforward and works well for flu symptoms.10 Its warmth and moisture lighten mucus, helping it drain. This makes breathing easier by clearing your nose and sinuses. It’s not just for congestion; it can also ease sinus pain and cough.

Over-the-Counter Decongestants

If steam isn’t enough, over-the-counter decongestants might help.9 They shrink the blood vessels in your nasal passages, which lessens swelling and helps you breathe better.10 Yet, be cautious with them. Use as directed; too much can cause your congestion to worsen. There are other risks to watch for, too.

There are many ways to make breathing easier with the flu. Without using a sauna, these options are effective. Plus, they avoid the possible harm saunas can cause.

Combining Sauna Use with Other Remedies

Using a sauna for flu symptoms works best when mixed with other actions.1 Try herbal teas and specific supplements. They have ingredients that can reduce inflammation and help your immune system.5 You should also rest well and drink enough water. This makes the sauna even more helpful when you’re ill.5 This overall strategy lets you get the most from sauna use during the flu and stay safe.

Herbal Teas and Supplements

Adding herbal teas and the right supplements to your sauna session can do wonders when you’re fighting the flu. Some herbs and vitamins, like ginger, turmeric, and vitamin C, are known to combat inflammation and boost your immune system.5 Using the sauna along with these additional aids tackles your sickness from more than one angle. This might speed up your recovery.

Rest and Hydration

Getting enough rest and keeping hydrated is key when you’re using the sauna for the flu.5 The heat in the sauna makes you sweat a lot, which can make you lose too much water. This makes staying hydrated extra important to avoid making your symptoms worse and stressing your body out more.5 And, remember to rest well, at sauna time and in between. This helps you make the most of the sauna’s benefits without any downsides.

Sauna Use for Cold and Flu Prevention

Saunas might help fight the flu and cold by boosting the immune system. This means you might get sick less often if you use saunas regularly.4 They work by stimulating the production of white blood cells and heat shock proteins through heat.4 To get the most benefit, combine sauna use with eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest.

Regular Sauna Sessions and Immune Boosting

Using a sauna often is like working out. It brings many health benefits, like protecting against certain diseases.4 Saunas make your blood vessels more flexible, which helps blood flow better to fight sickness.4 People who use saunas often for six months got sick less with the common cold.4 Saunas can make your body react as if it has a fever. This reaction helps your immune system fight off infections better.4

Studies show that 15-minute sauna sessions can increase white blood cells and heat shock proteins.5 After just 15 minutes in a sauna, a study in 2013 showed people had more white blood cells.5 Another study in 2015 found that saunas might help prevent diabetes by increasing heat shock proteins.5 Using the sauna three times a week for 15 minutes can boost your immune system. But, remember, it won’t directly treat the flu or colds.5

Other Lifestyle Factors for Preventing Illness

While saunas are good for keeping you healthy, they’re not the only answer.11 Healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping are also important.11 A study with 25 people found sauna use cuts the rate of catching a cold in half. But, the colds’ seriousness didn’t change.11 More research is needed to fully understand saunas’ role in preventing colds.11

Using saunas along with good diet and lifestyle habits may protect you better against colds and the flu.4511

Professional Advice on Sauna Use While Ill

If you’re thinking of using a sauna when you have the flu, you should talk to a pro. Reach out to a healthcare provider, like a doctor or nurse. They can give you advice that fits your health and how sick you are.8

Consulting with Healthcare Providers

Doctors and nurses know a lot about saunas and being sick. They’ll tell you what’s safe and not safe. Plus, they can spell out how long and how often you should use the sauna. This ensures you stay safe and get better.8

Following Facility Guidelines for Sauna Use

If you’re at a sauna place, do what the staff tells you. They set rules to protect everyone, especially if you’re not feeling well. It might mean shorter times or drinking more water. Following these rules keeps your sauna visit safe.8

Personal Experiences with Saunas and Flu Recovery

Many people share how saunas have helped them during flu recovery. They say the heat and sweating eased symptoms like congestion and muscle pain.8 A New York Times fact check shows that sauna bathing can indeed ease flu symptoms. It helps get rid of congestion in about a week.8 It also acts as a natural way to deal with body aches. It helps relax muscles and quickens cell recovery.8

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But, some felt worse after using saunas. They noticed that sauna made their fever worse or made them more tired.8 Sauna use is not advised when symptoms are severe, particularly a high fever.8 Individual reactions to saunas vary. This shows how important it is to watch your symptoms and talk to healthcare providers.8

For those who want to try saunas when they are sick, keeping it short – like 15 minutes – is wise.8 Also, avoid cold plunges or showers right after sauna. They can cause your blood pressure to suddenly change.8

In conclusion, people’s experiences with saunas and flu recovery show the need for careful, individual approaches. While saunas work for some, it’s key to listen to your body and consider your symptoms before using a sauna for recovery.


Using saunas when sick with the flu can have some good effects. They can help with better drainage, less swelling, and a stronger immune system.12 But, it’s important to be careful when using a sauna while sick. This is to avoid getting more dehydrated or making your symptoms worse.12 Always talk to your doctor first. Make sure to use the sauna in a safe way and pay attention to how your body feels. This will help you know if it’s okay for you to use a sauna when you have the flu.12

For some people, using a sauna smartly along with other treatments can help.11 But remember, saunas are not a substitute for what your doctor says.11 Even though studies show that saunas may help lower how often you get a cold, each person’s reaction can be different. It’s key to keep an eye on your symptoms and talk to your doctor.13

When it comes to using a sauna with the flu, it’s a good idea under the right conditions. This means doing it carefully, with other treatments, and with advice from your doctor. If you do it correctly and pay attention to your health, saunas might help you feel better during your flu. So, take care and make sure to be well-informed.


Is it safe to use a sauna when you’re sick with the flu?

Using a sauna when you have the flu is mostly okay. Saunas, for years, have helped fight symptoms of many health problems. They may make cold and flu symptoms better and quicken your recovery .

How can saunas help when you’re sick with the flu?

Saunas offer several possible benefits during the flu. They can help by making it easier to breathe, lessen body inflammation, and improve your immune system .

What are the risks and precautions to consider when using a sauna while sick with the flu?

Be cautious that too much sauna time can dehydrate you. It might make some flu symptoms worse, like high fever, for some people. People with heart or lung problems should be careful using saunas while sick .

How long and how often should you use a sauna when sick with the flu?

It’s best to keep sauna sessions under 30 minutes and limit them to a few times weekly when fighting the flu .

Why is staying hydrated important when using a sauna while sick with the flu?

Saunas make you sweat a lot, which can make you dehydrated fast. Drinking water before, during, and after saunas helps keep you hydrated and prevent stress on your body .

Who should avoid using a sauna when sick with the flu?

If you’re pregnant or have heart or lung issues, check with your doctor before using a sauna when sick. They may advise against it to protect your health .

What are some alternatives to saunas for respiratory relief when sick with the flu?

Try steam from a humidifier or hot shower to help clear congestion. Over-the-counter decongestants can also relieve stuffiness for a while .

How can sauna use be combined with other remedies when sick with the flu?

Drinking herbal teas and taking immune-boosting supplements can back up sauna benefits. Get enough rest and stay hydrated to help your body heal faster .

Can regular sauna use help prevent colds and the flu?

Studies show that saunas can help your immune system fight off colds and flu. But regular saunas, with a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep, can be most effective in staying well .

When should you seek professional advice about using a sauna while sick with the flu?

Talking to a healthcare pro is smart, especially if you’re not sure how a sauna might affect your health. They can give advice based on your personal situation .

What have been some personal experiences with using saunas while recovering from the flu?

Saunas have helped some by easing congestion and body aches. But others felt worse, mainly with more fever or tiredness after their sessions. How saunas affect you can differ .

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