Everyone knows that sweating is a natural way to cool down, but did you know that sweating can also help to treat some cold symptoms? When the body starts to produce more sweat, it's actually sending out signals to the brain that it's hot and a cold or fever is coming on. Sweat helps to reduce fever by removing excess body heat. However, there's no way to cure a cold—or sweat it out.

Stages of a Cold

A cold is a common virus that most people will experience at some point in their lives. Most people with the common cold will have symptoms for 7 to 10 days. The four C's - congestion, classic symptoms (cough, runny nose, fever), classic signs (foggy thinking, tiredness), and complications - are the stages that a cold goes through. While sweating can help to reduce the severity of symptoms by reducing congestion and infection in the lungs, make sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and feel your best.

Symptoms of the Common Cold

Some of the common symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, coughing, and fever. To avoid any negative side effects, try using some of the over-the-counter remedies for colds such as throat lozenges, cold liquids and mucous relievers such as Sudafed. If these remedies don’t work, you can see your doctor for a more comprehensive treatment plan.

sweating help a coldCan You Sweat Out a Cold?

Sweating out a cold is the idea that using heat, exercise, or things that can make us sweat, makes a cold go away faster.

Sweating is one of the body's natural ways of releasing heat and reducing inflammation. When you sweat, your body releases toxins and reduces swelling. In theory, this should reduce the chance of catching a cold by trapping viruses and other germs in the sweat ducts. However, there isn't enough research to confirm this hypothesis fully yet.

While some of the methods used to “sweat out a cold” may provide temporary symptom relief, they don’t shorten the time that you’re sick. It normally takes 7 to 10 days to recover from the common cold.

Does sweat help treat congestion?

Inhaling warm steam or visiting a sauna or steam room to make you sweat, may temporarily relieve nasal congestion because they help to loosen nasal mucus. However, it’s the exposure to warm, moist air or physical activity, not the actual sweat, that’s beneficial in this case.

It’s fine to try to get a workout in if you have the common cold. Exercise can temporarily relieve cold symptoms such as nasal congestion.

TheScience Behind Sweating Out a Cold

Sweating is one of the body's natural ways of fighting bacteria and viruses. When you sweat, your body releases sodium and chloride ions, which are known to fight bacteria and viruses. So, don't be surprised if you start sweating soon after catching a cold - it's all part of the body's natural response to fight off infection!

When trying to decide if you should consider sweating out a cold, it’s helpful to understand the effect exercise has on the body. During exercise, our body releases chemicals to repair itself and control the level of stress in our body. This is helpful in fighting of infections. Any mild to moderate, low-impact exercise for shorter periods of time, like 30 minutes, is OK and allows the body to boost immunity and metabolism to fight off infections, like a cold.

On the other side, if you’ve got a cold, exercising for long amounts of time, like two hours, isn’t a good idea and neither are any high-intensity options. Exercises you should skip while sick include: long races, heavy lifting, HIIT.

Can going to a sauna or steam room help with a cold?

Colds can be a real pain, and often times there is no cure. However, sweating can help to clear the nasal passages and reduce the amount of mucus produced in colds. Additionally, going to a sauna or steam room can also increase your body temperature, which may help fight off the cold virus. Make sure you speak with your health care provider before embarking on either of these activities – they may have different effects on different people.


What can make you feel better right away?

Colds are no fun, and they can last for days on end. When you get a cold, your body is trying its best to fight off the infection. One of the ways your body does this is by sweating.

Stay hydrated. Not only does this help your body fight your infection, but it can also loosen mucus. Warm liquids such as tea or broth can help soothe a scratchy throat. Try to avoid items that can cause dehydration, such as caffeine, alcohol, and salty foods.

Use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to help relieve symptoms. Decongestants, pain relievers, and expectorants can help keep your symptoms under control. Be sure to follow the correct dosing guidelines.

Gargle with saltwater if you have a sore throat. This can help reduce pain and swelling.

Use a humidifier. Dry air can make your symptoms worse. Adding some moisture to the air can help keep your nasal passages moist and relieve congestion.

Sweating a cold

Tips for Recovery

There’s no way to cure a cold once you’ve been infected. However, there are some actions can help promote healing and make you more comfortable. In addition to drinking plenty of fluids and taking over-the-counter cough and cold remedies, rest is also important for maximum recovery. Your body needs to fight off the illness. Try to get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep each night. Include vitamin C, zinc, and eating a balance diet, will reduce the duration of a cold.

Post-IllnessReturn to Activity

Once the symptoms become mild it’sOK to return to light to moderate exercise with caution. You should keep in mind that you have used up your reserves inside to fight off the infection. Start low and go slow. Hitting the gym hard suddenly to make up for lost time can lead to muscle damage and other injuries.


Sweating is one of the many natural remedies that people use to treat colds. However, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that sweating will help to clear congestion and relieve symptoms of a cold. If you are feeling unwell try to take rest, drink plenty of fluids, and use nasal decongestants wich may help to speed up your recovery.