Have you ever been told that the best way to get rid of a cold is to sweat it out? It’s something that seems to be one of those ‘common cures’ alongside chicken soup and OJ, but is it actually legit? When you get a cold, you will often feel tired, rundown, have a sore throat and a runny nose. By this point, you’re willing to give any kind of treatment a go, just so you can stop suffering. When someone tells you to sweat out a cold, you might take this as advice to hit the gym (even with the sniffles) to work up a sweat. Or, like us, you wear as many layers as you can to try and overheat your body so that you sweat out all the bad stuff. What does science say about sweating out a cold, though? Is it a real, proven cure?
It’s an old rumor
Most of these home remedy ideas aren’t new – which is why they are often called ‘Old Wives Tales.’ However, the idea of sweating out a cold actually dates back to ancient Roman times! Back then, people were so afraid of fevers they would do anything to try and get rid of them. They even had temples dedicated to worshipping Febris, the goddess of fevers. They would try to appease their cruel mistress goddess by leaving amulets that had been worn by patients with a fever. Back then, they didn’t realize that curing the underlying illness would then cure the fever, and so the idea of ‘sweating out a cold’ was born.
You can try it, if you like
At the end of the day, if you want to try sweating out a cold then there is rarely any harm in giving it a go. However, if this entails hitting the gym to try and work up a sweat, then you may want to check with your doctor first. The only way exercise might make you feel a little better is because it will release happy hormones, endorphins, that will pep you up. This is more improving your mentality than actually improving any of your cold or flu symptoms, however. It is also really important to check with your doctor if you are planning on sweating a cold out at the gym. They may advise against you working yourself too hard, especially if you have an infection. Opening up your lungs too much could lead to the infection getting deeper, which could lead to something much more serious than a cold. You may also find yourself getting dehydrated when trying to sweat out a cold, which is a surefire way of making you feel worse. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids when you’re poorly.
Alternatives to sweating out a cold
So, if sweating out a cold doesn’t really work, what else can you do to try and ease the symptoms? Most doctors will advise that you actually take a couple of days to rest, trying to get in as many naps as possible. Our bodies do all sorts of wonderful things when we’re sleeping, so let it work its magic. Make yourself a cup of chamomile tea and try to catch some Z’s in the middle of the day, instead of sitting there watching Netflix all day. As mentioned, you should also make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids, so you don’t end up dehydrated. Finally, you could try another ‘Old Wives Tale,’ chicken soup. While it probably won’t cure your cold, it can help you feel warm, cozy and give you plenty of nutrients to build your strength up. Plus, who doesn’t love chicken soup?!
Now we know that sweating out a cold isn’t really a ‘thing’ we can stop forcing ourselves to hit the gym when we’re feeling under the weather. Or wearing three sets of pajamas. Instead, focus on drinking plenty of fluids, getting some rest, and eating nutritious meals to keep your strength up. You should be feeling better in no time – we hope!