Covid can be prevented by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, washing hands frequently, practicing social distancing, avoiding crowded spaces, and staying home when feeling sick.
There is no evidence to suggest that sauna and steam room sessions are effective in preventing or treating COVID-19. While they can have some health benefits, it is important to follow public health guidelines such as social distancing, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated to protect against COVID-19.
In the article, we are taking a deeper look into how using the sauna can help prevent COVID-19 and also in what ways using the sauna could cause the infection.
Table of Contents
- How is Sauna Good for COVID-19?
- Can Using Sauna Spread COVID-19?
- Can Wearing a Mask in the Sauna Help?
- Can I Use the Sauna After Vaccination?
How is Sauna Good for COVID-19?
COVID patients are known to experience mild to moderate respiratory illness. And since respiratory illness can be overcome by inhaling steam, many people think that using a steam bath or sauna can help cure COVID-19.
This is largely a myth. There is no evidence showing that using the sauna can help kill the coronavirus.
It’s worth noting that in the initial stage of any respiratory illness, the human body creates mucus in the nasal airway as a barrier for trapping infectious particles before they travel into the body. These particles are later expelled through sneezing and coughing.
Humidity in a sauna helps create more mucus, therefore, aiding in the prevention process. That’s why it is believed that the sauna can help prevent colds and other respiratory diseases like COVID-19. But there isn’t enough evidence to claim that visiting the sauna on a regular basis will prevent coronavirus infection.
That said, the sauna definitely offers psychological benefits, for instance, it can help to relax for an hour or two before you go back to your life where you are constantly exposed to stress-induced media reports. Evening saunas can help you sleep better boosting your mental health and well-being. (Learn more: Best time to sauna)
Can Using Sauna Spread COVID-19?
Visiting a public sauna increases the likelihood of exposure to the virus so, in that way, the sauna can help spread COVID-19.
In a sauna, you would be sitting in close proximity to multiple people. As we know, not everyone has visible symptoms of COVID-19. You might think that the people you are enjoying the sauna session with look healthy on the outside but by the time the session is over you could end up with coronavirus.
That said, avoiding a public sauna does not mean you can use the sauna at all. You can get a sauna kit or an outdoor sauna and enjoy sauna sessions at your home. Just make sure that you keep the sauna clean even if you are the only one using it. Here’s a detailed guide on how to clean your sauna.
Can Wearing a Mask in the Sauna Help?
You can wear a mask inside a sauna but it really comes down to the sauna center's rules and regulations.
Most sauna centers should be allowing the use of masks but it's best to confirm before you start using one at your nearest public sauna. By now, most people are vaccinated so most likely you won’t have to wear a mask if you are fully vaccinated. Just make sure you carry your vaccine certificates with you when you visit the sauna.
Needless to say, if you are not vaccinated then you should carry a mask with you to the public sauna.
N95 masks can prevent the spread of germs much better than any cloth masks can. While clothes masks simply block saliva coming out of your mouth, the N95 mask is designed to keep contaminants from entering your airwaves.
One of the biggest drawbacks of wearing a mask inside the sauna is you will find it hard to breathe. High temperature leads to profuse sweating and heavy breathing much like in a gym. mask hinders proper inhaling and exhaling and you might feel like you are suffocating inside the sauna with a mask on.
That said, wearing a mask is a good practice and you should use it if you are visiting a public sauna. But a face mask is not a full-proof method of preventing COVID-19 infection. Sure the mask will prevent you from inhaling mold spores and other viruses but you can still come in contact with viruses via touch.
Can I Use the Sauna After Vaccination?
You can use the sauna after vaccination but make sure to wait for 2 or 3 days after taking the vaccine, just to be on the safe side.
Like any medication, the COVID-19 vaccine will also have adverse effects. Needless to say, if you feel sick after taking the vaccine, then avoid going to the sauna at all costs. Get well first and then visit the sauna.
Pro Tip: Try going to a nude sauna as it is much more hygienic and can protect you from watching COVID-19. As we all know, unwashed swimsuits or sauna suits can become a hub of bacterial infestation.
You can make sure that your suits are bacteria-free, but in a public sauna, one can’t trust that everyone maintains proper hygiene. So if you have nude saunas near your place then go for it.
The sauna can be good to prevent COVID-19 infection but there isn’t enough evidence on the front. Also, the sauna can't cure COVID-19 because the coronavirus is known to survive the highest sauna temperature.
To prevent becoming infected with COVID-19, you need to wear your mask properly, avoid large gatherings and maintain good hygiene.
This means you should stop using the public sauna because public saunas are a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. You might think that wearing a mask should protect you from getting infected but the truth is coronavirus is highly contiguous and it can spread via contact.
For many readers, the sauna is an essential part of their daily lives. Using the sauna can help you relax which is something you need now more than ever, thanks to the looming COVID-19 situation. We understand. That’s why we recommend getting a sauna at your home. Just make sure the sauna is clean even if you are using it and no one else.
(Featured image by Daniel Schludi from Unsplash)