Sweating out a cold

I feel that soon I will be ill. I’m starting to get that feeling in the back of my throat, and the mucous is beginning to develop. I know, more information than necessary. I want to try and cut it off at the pass. I remember a doctor told me one time to sleep with a T-shirt, sweatshirt, socks, sweatpants, a scarf, and a knit hat in order to, as he put it: “Sweat the cold out”. Is this even possible?

I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV. I’m just using logic. If one has a temperature, and takes something (like tylenol or whatever) to reduce fever, one tends to sweat. I presume the sweat helps to reduce the fever, although the sweat may be a side effect from the temperature. It seems reasonable that bundling up super-warm to sweat will help reduce temperature (from the evaporation of the sweat on the skin.)

Hard to imagine that it will have any effect on other cold symptoms, however.

Call a doctor. Or try over-the-counter remedies (like antihistamines etc) for a couple days and THEN call a doctor. And don’t heed on-line medical advice blindly.

Well WIGGUM, one personal experience doesn’t constitute a definitive reply, but I’ll tell you my tale. A few years ago I joined a group bicycle tour. Basically we all chipped in on a bus to drop us and our bicycles waaay out in the Rockie mountains, a three or four day ride from home.
On the bus trip I felt the symptoms you describe, the signs where you know you are about to be hit by a major cold. I slept the night in my tent and when I got up in the morning I had a rip-snorting snotty head cold. I bartered some Neo-Citran off some fellows loaded my bike (tent, sleeping bag, stove, etc.), bundled up in all my clothes (it was drizzling so I even wore a rain suit) and I started riding. This was a brutal ride, the first 180 miles all mountains. I was working really hard and sweating like a hog for the whole trip. My metabolism was way up. That cold should have made me sick for four or five days but after three days of riding not a trace of it remained. I believe I sweated it out and I believe it took major sweating, to the soaking max, to do it.
This is only one example. It may have been cold virus with a very short life, I’ve had rare 24 hour colds before. Also, I think someone trying this radical cold cure (bicycle 200 miles in the mountains in cool rainy weather bundled up in lots of clothes) could just as easily get very sick with a lung infection.
Ever since that trip, if I have a cold I like to go to a sauna or steam bath and have a good sweat as part of the treatment.

I seem to recall that fever, however lousy it feels, is actually an adaptive response to infection because elevated temperature suppresses the reproduction of certain infectious agents. Unfortunately, I don’t remember whether it was viruses or bacteria, or both that were suppressed. If natural fever can be a defense against infectious agents, then maybe artificially raised body temperature can be as well.

I have no idea whether this method of treating a cold actually works, just suggesting that it’s not completely illogical.

Viral infections can not be sweated out. Period. Only your body’s immune system can take care of it.

So, how do you explain the anecdotal 1-day or ‘almost colds’ that people get but doesn’t develop into a full-blown cold?

  1. Allergies. Sore and itchy throat, mucus, itchy eyes, sneezing, and achiness are all signs of allergies, as well as colds. Many people have allergies but think that they have colds. Taking an antihistimine or getting away from the allergens will take away this supposed ‘cold’ in a day or two.

  2. Previous exposure. If you’re reinfected with a virus that you’ve already had, your body will fight it again, and win rather quickly since you already have the right antigens in huge numbers running through your body (from the last infection).
    Yes, high body temperature helps fight some infections, but it’s not a one-night magic bullet against diseases, otherwise, people wouldn’t be running a fever for days at a time with a real cold. And there ain’t no way in hell that the sweating itself gets the virus out – there’s no connection between the mucus glands and sweat pores. :slight_smile:


A fever is the body’s natural defense against a cold/flu. By raising the body’s temperature it attempts to kill off the virus. Yes, it may quicken your recovery, or cut it off at the pass if you stay very warm, but it might still take a day or so depending on the virus and your current health.

Tylenol (pain relievers?) only reduce the discomfort of the fever, relieving the symptoms. Plenty of rest and staying warm is what the job requires.

Antibiotics or phage would be required for more serious infections.

Question: Does it matter if it’s a virus or a bacterium?

I have had severe colds that suddenly “broke” after rolling up in a blanket and sweating until that sucker was soaked.(Usually a full day) Then again I have had them where the sweat traetment did nothing.

On taking antibiotics for colds and flus, DON’T!

Read this report in Scientific American. Spooky stuff! http://www.sciam.com/1998/0398issue/0398levy.html

[Note: This message has been edited by Nickrz]

Err make that “treatment”

(Fixed url tags in above post. - Nick)

[Note: This message has been edited by Nickrz]

Elevated temperature is the body’s natural defense is fighting a bug, true. Just as diahreaha or throwing up is. I don’t know why this home remedy for colds works, but it does. My granny used to bundle us up in long johns and blankets and rub us down with vicks or menthol rub, espcially around the neck and then pin a wool sock around our neck. Same with our feet, slather them with vicks then put wool socks on.

I do it still with my kids, and I swear it speeds up the recovery time and makes you feel better. Also to swear by: garlic (eaten whole if you and your near & dear can stand you), ecchenacia to boost the immune system, and at the very first sign of a cold (usually the tickle in the throat) dose up on 2 or 3 grams (yes, grams) of Vitamin C each day for 2 or 3 days. Knocks them little buggers right out of there.

You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.

There is no a ‘cold’ nor a ‘flu.’ These are just generic words to describe huge groups of viruses, rhino & influenza, respectively.

Thus, you could have a 24 hour version rhino virus that would give you the impression sweating it out does the trick.

Best you can do is back track three days, find out who you were with & find out if they have the virus too. Then you can ask them how long it lasts. Three days is the usual period of time it takes from exposure to symptoms.