The COVID-19 pandemic has the entire world worried about how to keep safe from the virus. Governments across the globe are urging people to avoid unnecessary contact with others, to stay home, to routinely sanitize high-touch surfaces, and to practice good hand-washing hygiene. Since medical professionals have not yet found a vaccine or proven cure for the Coronavirus, media outlets and individual opinions have added to the confusion and panic about how to stay safe.
One myth that has started circulating is that high temperatures can kill the virus. As a result, the Ecotone phone has been ringing off the hook with a regular stream of homeowners who desperately want saunas installed in their linen closets, on their rooftops, in their backyards, in their vans…anywhere they can get one in.
This speculation about high heat was made on the basis that the previous coronaviruses, SARS and MERS, both favored cooler environments. However, these prior instances do not ensure that COVID-19 will react in a similar fashion. Furthermore, the global nature of the outbreak shows that COVID-19 has impacted communities irrespective of temperature conditions. The virus has been equally active in nations with hot climates as it has in nations with cold climates. Hence, heat and temperature are not deterrent to the spread of the virus.
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Another Coronavirus myth is the claim that hot baths or sauna baths can kill the virus. Because many infected people experience symptoms similar to a cold, warm water can make them feel better – but that’s not a cure. Furthermore, the high temperatures of a bath or sauna do not kill the virus. According to the WHO, “Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees DOES NOT prevent nor cure COVID-19.”
In fact, visiting public saunas can actually increase likelihood of exposure to the virus. When using a public sauna, multiple people sit in close proximity for an extended period of time, which has been shown to be a leading cause of transmission. So, for now, staying away from the public sauna is an important way to slow the spread of the disease.
While sauna bathing won’t kill the virus, research shows that when combined with exercise, sauna bathing can help you build a stronger immune system. Some research has shown that regular sauna bathing reduces cases of cold and influenza. Due to the heat induced in the body, white blood cells are generated, which helps build immunity. However, this does not mean that sauna bathing or hot water bathing can kill the Coronavirus.
Your best bet for staying healthy is maintaining a strong immune system, listening to WHO guidelines, and keeping up-to-date on myths and facts about the Coronavirus. We hope you all stay healthy and safe as we navigate this global pandemic together.