Cold & flu season brings thoughts of dread to many of us. The prospect of being sick for 1-2 weeks doesn’t exactly fill me with the “warm & fuzzies” either. Body aches, stuffiness, congestion, sore throats, and trouble sleeping are a terrible way to spend your hard-earned vacation time.
To add insult to injury, flu & colds are caused by viruses so, antibiotics are ineffective. With so many “alternative” remedies out there, it’s hit and miss when it comes to finding something that actually works. However, did you know that recent research shows that your hot tub may be one of the best tools to help relieve cold & flu symptoms? It’s true! In fact, hot tub use may even shorten the duration of your cold. Here’s how.
Faking a Fever
Experts say that the “fever” you experience during a cold or flu is one of your body’s natural defense mechanisms to rid your system of the virus. WebMD.com says “Low-grade fever helps the body fight off infection by suppressing the growth of viruses or bacteria and by activating the immune system.” Inducing a slight fever by soaking in a warm bath or hot tub at the first sign of a cold can help your body defeat the nasty virus sooner.
Relieving Aches & Pains
Body aches are a notorious relative of the flu. They hamper restful sleep and can make you feel miserable. While over-the-counter pain relievers work for a short time, many people find that soaking in warm water provides more immediate and longer lasting relief. Warm water works to relax muscles and increase circulation, thereby easing aches. This is especially the case if you have a jetted hot tub or bath, for the added benefit of a massage.
Steam Away Stuffiness
Have you ever wondered why colds and the flu are more common in winter? It’s because viruses thrive in cooler air. The steamy air entering your nasal passages while soaking in warm water helps to shrink swollen mucus membranes and induce drainage, helping you to breathe better. Adding some eucalyptus aromatherapy couldn’t hurt either.
Sleep like a Baby
One of the best things to do when you are sick is sleep. Sleeping does wonders for the body, especially when it comes to fighting an illness. Yet, a good restful sleep can be tough to come-by. Hot tubbing can help. After exiting the warm water your body temperature decreases, causing the feeling of sleepiness. In addition, the relief of warm water soaking on your muscles and stuffy nose helps you to slip into a much needed restful sleep.
Drinking fluids helps to flush your system and keep you hydrated, especially when you’re sick. Hot tea can also help soothe a sore throat. Elevated body temperatures caused by a real fever, or hot tub use, can dehydrate you. Remember to drink lots of water before & after soaking.
Keep in mind that hot tub soaking is only as healthy as the cleanliness of the water in the tub. Testing and balancing your water chemistry is vital for a therapeutic bathing experience.