If you have a cold, should you turn up the heat, crawl under the blankets, and sweat it out? Find out whether sweating out a cold has any real benefits.
Having a cold is no day in the park. The sneezing, coughing, sniffling, and stuffiness quickly take its toll on your patience – and on your energy level. No wonder people look for ways to shorten the duration of the common cold. One piece of advice that some well-meaning people give is to crawl under a blanket, turn up the heat, and sweat. Does sweating out a cold really work?
Does Sweating Out a Cold Work?
If lying under a pile of wool blankets or taking a warm shower makes you feel better, do it – but don’t count on it to shorten the duration of a cold. Some people believe that sweating “detoxifies” the body and helps to eliminate the cold virus – but there’s no evidence of this. If anything, excessive sweating further zaps your energy by causing dehydration.
Sipping Warm Liquids May Be Better Than Sweating Out a Cold Under a Blanket
Sipping hot liquids, instead of hiding under a mountain of blankets, may offer some relief, but it probably won’t shorten the course of the common cold. Grandma was right on target when she brought you a bowl of warm chicken soup when you had a cold as a child. Even science acknowledges the benefits of sipping chicken soup.
According to one study, chicken soup has an anti-inflammatory effect by altering the activity of immune cells called neutrophils, which may reduce some of the discomfort of a cold. Plus, chicken soup is a comfort food with psychological benefits. Who doesn’t feel better when they sip steaming, fragrant soup?
Another hot liquid worth indulging in when you have a cold is white tea. According to a study carried out at Pace University, white tea has antibacterial and anti-viral properties that help to guard against colds and bacterial infection. No one knows whether it thwarts viruses once they’ve invaded, but, at the very least, the warm brew will open up your sinuses.
Can You Sweat Out a Cold: The Bottom Line?
Sweating out a cold won’t make it disappear any faster. Stay warm, but don’t overdo it. Too much sweating can lead to dehydration. Try sipping warm chicken soup and white tea instead of burying yourself under a stack of wool blankets.
University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Got a cold or flu? Try chicken soup to ease symptoms”
Science Daily website. “Got a cold or flu? Try chicken soup to ease symptoms”