Sweating out a cold: tested remedy or false myth?

Winter is in full force in Australia and with the downright freezing temperatures comes an old foe – the cold! And we don’t mean ‘cold’ as in ‘brrrr, it’s cold’. We’re talking about the kind that gives you the sniffles, coughs, headaches and shivers. Common colds are uncomfortable and always seem to come at the worst times. It’s why we go to such great lengths to find cures as soon as we come down with one. One of these is sweating out a cold.

You might have heard of sweating out a cold before. It involves heating your body up to try and get rid of your cold symptoms – either through exercise or actual sweating like through a sauna. But does this actually work? Keep reading to find out if this method works or is just a hot myth.

Can you sweat out a cold?

So can you sweat out a cold? Sorry to burst your bubble but the short answer is no. The long answer is unfortunately a hard no, as well. The idea of sweating out a cold through the pores of your skin is pure myth. In fact, if you are starting to feel your body heat up it’s actually a sign that your cold is developing into something more serious like a fever.

So where did the whole idea of sweating out a cold come from? It might be because sweating it out can bring some temporary relief from your symptoms.

Doing some exercise and following it with a hot shower might remove some of that chest or nose congestion. Add on the rush of endorphins your body gets after a workout and you’ll probably feel a hundred times better.

But it won’t make your cold go away nor make the recovery time any quicker. No matter how much you run or jump or sit in a sauna, your cold will stick around for its entire length – usually 3-7 days.

Should you work out with a cold?

So we now know that sweating out a cold is a myth and it’s not possible to get rid of your cold through working out. But it’s not all doom and gloom! Exercise will bring some temporary relief to your body and even if it doesn’t cut the recovery time down, it’ll definitely make it easier to get through. The key is to understand whether or not you should exercise. After all, you don’t want to turn your cold into a fever!

Now should you work out with a cold? Most doctors say mild to moderate exercise is okay and will bring in some of that aforementioned relief to your cold-ridden body. Any more intense and you might end up doing more harm than good.

It’s also important to listen to your body and see if it’s up for a bit of exercise in the first place. The general rule of thumb is if all your symptoms are above the neck, then you’re good to go. In other words, a blocked nose or a sore throat is a-ok; nausea or frequent coughs is not.

Also, if you’re choosing to workout in an enclosed space like a gym, be mindful of your fellow exercisers – you don’t want to get them sick. For regular weightlifters and bodybuilders, it’s generally a good idea to just skip a workout if you’re not feeling well. The ‘gains’ you lose during this period can easily be made back.

What other ways can I recover from a cold?

So you can’t exercise your cold away and you can’t sit in a sauna wishing your cold will miraculously disappear. What else is there to do to help you get through a cold? Here are three ways:

Take OTC medicine

If a cold has you feeling bogged down you can pop into your local chemist or pharmacy and pick up some OTC (or Over The Counter) medicine. Some things you can purchase include paracetamol or ibuprofen for headaches and soreness, nasal sprays for unclogging your blocked nose or cold and flu medicines such as Demazin or Codral.

With all medicines, be sure to read instructions and take them as directed by the manufacturer or your doctor. Also make sure you ask your doctor about taking a particular medicine if you have any concerns or issues.

Stay hydrated

Make sure you’re drinking enough water – your cold has probably taken away your ability to taste anything anyways! But staying hydrated can really make you feel better. Not only does it help fight off the cold virus, but it also replaces any lost fluids and loosens up mucus to relieve your congestion.

Drinking warm water or hot tea can also help soothe sore, scratchy throats and can help you get to sleep easier which leads on to our next point.

Get enough sleep

The best thing you can do for your cold is to get enough rest, and what better way to rest than to sleep! Sweating out a cold may not be possible but sleeping it off is. When you get enough sleep, you give your body a chance to rest and recover.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, you can try a couple of things including the aforementioned drinking of hot tea, sleeping aids (with cautions) or using white noise to lull you to sleep.

More than one way to get rid of a cold

All in all, while you may not be able to sweat out a cold, you can still do some light exercise to help you feel better. And if that doesn’t work, you can always take medicine, stay hydrated and sleep it off!

Sweating out a cold isn’t possible but finding more mythbusting articles is, especially at the OSIM Wellness Blog! Head on over to find articles which are made to help you live a genuinely healthy life.

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