Sauna is a place where many of us seek relaxation, health, and renewal. However, for people with allergies, the sauna can be a place where allergic reactions can occur. In this part of the article, we will understand what can cause allergies in the sauna and how to avoid them.
Allergens in the sauna and how to avoid them
- Wood. Many saunas are built of wood, which can be an allergen for some people. The most commonly used types of wood include pine, fir, cedar, and spruce. Depending on individual sensitivity, some people may have allergic reactions to some of these types of wood, which can cause symptoms such as skin redness, itching, sneezing, shortness of breath, or swelling. To avoid such a reaction, you should check what type of wood the sauna is built of before visiting.
- Oils and herbs. Essential oils and herbs are often used in the sauna, which are added to the steam bath or water for pouring over the stones. Despite their beneficial effects, some people may be allergic to some of them. Allergy symptoms can include a runny nose, sneezing, skin rash, itching, coughing, shortness of breath. To avoid such a reaction, it is worth asking about the composition of the oils and herbs used in the sauna before starting the session. If there is any suspicion of allergies, it is better to abstain from them.
- Heat and humidity. The heat and humidity in the sauna are known for their ability to dilate blood vessels and stimulate the immune system, but for some people, they can also lead to allergic reactions. Symptoms can include skin redness, itching, headache, or dizziness. To prevent such reactions, it is recommended to start sauna bathing with short sessions at a lower temperature and gradually increase the time and temperature as the body adapts.
- Public and private saunas. In public saunas, there is a higher risk of allergic reactions, due to a larger number of potential allergens, such as cleaning agents, other people’s cosmetics, and even allergens brought by other users. If you are a person with allergies, using a private sauna may be a safer solution for you.
Can a sauna help with allergies?
The sauna can bring many health benefits, and one of the aspects that might interest people with allergies is the effect of the sauna on the immune system and the respiratory system.
During the use of the sauna, our body is exposed to thermal stress. This form of stress can lead to the production of heat shock proteins, which can support the immune system.
During a sauna session, a person inhales warm and humid air. This is particularly beneficial for people suffering from allergies causing a stuffy nose, as the steam can help clear the respiratory tract.
Another aspect of using the sauna, which could be beneficial for people with allergies, is the excretion of toxins through sweating. The theory states that by removing toxins from the body, we can potentially reduce the burden on the immune system, allowing it to focus on fighting allergens.
Despite these potential benefits, it is important to emphasize that sauna use is not a cure for allergies. There is currently insufficient scientific evidence that would confirm that sauna use can significantly improve allergy symptoms. Therefore, you should always consult a doctor or allergy specialist before deciding to use the sauna to relieve allergy symptoms.
Tips for people with allergies:
For people with allergies, using the sauna may require extra precautions. Here are some practical tips for safe sauna use:
- Consultation with a doctor: First of all, if you have any allergies, you should always consult a doctor or allergy specialist before you start using the sauna.
- Beware of allergens: Many saunas use essential oils to enhance the experience. If you are allergic, you should always check what oils are being used to avoid a potential allergen.
- Hydration: Keep in mind that using the sauna causes intense sweating, which can lead to dehydration. Drink plenty of water before and after the sauna session.
- Listen to your body: If you notice any allergy symptoms while using the sauna, leave the room immediately. Remember, your health and safety come first.
- Time: Start with short sauna sessions and gradually increase the time to see how your body responds.
- Cleaning: If you are using a public sauna, make sure it is cleaned regularly to minimize exposure to potential allergens.
Using the sauna can bring many health benefits, but for people with allergies, it may require additional precautions. Remember that your health and safety are the most important.