A good sauna will help you fight off viruses•
Posted on December 21 2022
A good sauna will help you fight off viruses
Regular sauna baths boost the immune system and keep us healthy during the virus-infested winter season. Sauna’s healthy effect can be explained by two things, mucus and heat. A fair warning: the following is based on scientific research.
Some basic facts first. The blanket of mucus in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses form the first line of defence against viruses. Despite its nasty name, this watery mucus is highly useful—it catches virus particles and stops them from entering our organism. We then expel the foreign particles and pathogens by sneezing, coughing and blowing our nose, thereby cleaning the blanket of mucus. Every child is thought to use a hanky to cover her nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing to prevent the virus from spreading. And we are all learning how to wear face masks to stop the COVID-19 pandemic for the same reason.
Sauna and COVID-19
Also the coronavirus does not like high temperatures, albeit for a different reason. Coronaviruses are surrounded by an envelope which protects the virus when traveling from one host cell to another. Such viruses are relatively resistant to cold and therefore are more likely to cause sickness in winter months. However, the protective lipid envelope is destroyed if the temperature is held between 55–65°C (131–149°F) for 15–30 minutes. Only one minute will do if the temperature is 80°C (176°F). Human beings can endure such heat, the virus can not.
In addition, coronavirus does not tolerate an alkaline environment. In the intense heat of sauna, our breathing becomes deeper and more frequent. This makes our blood pH levels rise. Different strands of the coronavirus cannot reproduce in such conditions, become inactive or disintegrate complete.
Dry air inhibits mucus regeneration
Most virus particles are caught by the layer of mucus before they can do harm. However, sometimes the air we breathe dries up the watery mucus, making it easy for the viruses to enter the body. Dry air is perfect for different viruses, including the coronavirus which causes the COVID-19 pandemic, rhinovirus and the influenza virus. Human beings feel comfortable if the indoor humidity is between 25%–70%. But if the relative humidity drops below 20%, the blanket of mucus dries up and our defense against viruses is impaired. In consequence, viruses enter our body and we may fall ill.