Will a hot tub help a cold? - Hot Tub Focus (2023)

Will a hot tub help a cold? - Hot Tub Focus (1)

There currently isn’t a cure for the common cold but what we can do is try to alleviate the symptoms a little to make life a little bit easier. How can you use your hot tub to help with your cold symptoms? Is it even a good idea to go in the hot tub with a cold? I decided to find out:

So, will a hot tub help a cold? A hot tub will help raise your temperature which is good for fighting infections. If your cold symptoms include aches and pains the hot tub can be used to alleviate them as well. Many people also find that using a hot tub helps with getting good quality restorative sleep which can help your body recover from a cold more quickly too.

So it looks like hot tubbing can be a great activity when you have a cold. It can’t actually cure your cold but it will probably significantly ease the symptoms and also possibly help your body to fight off the virus and speed up your recovery time.

How does using a hot tub do this?

Raise your body temperature – Your normal body temperature is likely to be around 37 C and your hot tub will most likely be two or possibly even three degrees warmer than this. That is why the water feels so luxuriously warming and soothing but it also has another effect – when you sit in your hot tub for a reasonably long time your body temperature will rise a little.

If you have a cold virus then this can be really helpful as the bodies natural defence mechanism against fever is to kill the fever by heat. In fact, there are only two ways to get rid of a cold, the first is to kill the virus with a fever and the second is basically to sit it out and let it run it’s course. So, if you use your hot tub when you have a cold then you are helping your body to raise it’s temperature more easily and this, in turn, will kill the virus.

However, you do have to be careful. If you already have a high temperature then getting into a hot tub may not be the best thing to do. You might find it soothing and restful or it’s possible that it might send your temperature too high and your body will begin to struggle. The most important thing to do is to pay close attention to how you are feeling and if you start to feel at all unwell then get out of the hot tub.

If you do get into your hot tub when you have a cold then it is vitally important that you stay very well hydrated. You need extra hydration when you have a cold anyway and you also need extra hydration when you are in a hot tub to avoid dehydration and overheating. You should drink water very frequently when you are in the hot tub and also limit your sessions to a maximum of 20 minutes to avoid the risks of overheating and dehydration.

Will a hot tub help a cold? - Hot Tub Focus (2)

Ease aching muscles – Getting aching muscles is very common when you have a cold, even more so if you are unfortunate enough to get the flu. When your immune system detects the cold virus in your system it sends white blood cells out to fight the infection. This can cause inflammation and is the cause of aches and pains when you have a cold.

This is where using a hot tub can be the perfect solution. The warmth of the water will ease the aches and pains as well as supporting your body so you will almost definitely feel the benefit. Again the hot tub can’t actually cure the problem but, in the case of aching muscles, it can go a long way to easing the symptoms.

The warm water itself will go a long way to helping as will the buoyancy of the water but, if you use the jets to gently massage the aching muscles you will then get full benefit. In more modern hot tubs it’s possible to adjust both the speed of the flow, the character of the massage as well as the direction so, with a little time and patience, you should be able to get the perfect hot tub massage.

Make you more relaxed – It’s very difficult to get out of a hot tub in a less relaxed state than when you got in! If you are fighting off a cold then the more relaxed and positive you are the quicker you are going to recover. There is hardly anything that will add to the misery of having a cold than feeling stressed, rushed and wound up so, the more time you can spend in the hot tub the better to aid a quick recovery to getting back to feeling yourself again.

Help with restorative sleep – In a similar vein, a hot tub is used by missions of people to help with deep and restorative sleep. Again, if you are fighting off a cold then you will recover much more quickly if you are getting a good night’s sleep and a hot tub can really help in this area.

Many people find that having a hot tub session last thing at night is a great way to prepare yourself for sleep. There are the obvious physical benefits of relaxing and unwinding in the warm water but also it is a great opportunity to switch off the TV, phones and email and just disconnect a little from the worries of the world. At the same time it can be a great opportunity to reconnect with loved ones and some quality time together in the hot tub before bed can be a great way to end the day.

If you do try a late-night hot tub session then, as usual, remember to shower both before getting in the hot tub and also afterwards. The hot tub is a means of relaxation and recreation and shouldn’t be used in lieu of your normal bedtime washing and hygiene routine.

Will a hot tub help a cold? - Hot Tub Focus (3)

Help clear blocked sinuses – Having a blocked nose is a common and unpleasant cold symptom. The cold itself doesn’t create excess mucus and blocked sinuses though, it’s actually caused by the blood vessels in your nose become inflamed and irritated. This, in turn, causes an excess of mucus.

There are many many products designed to help with blocked sinuses and excess mucus but one of the simplest and most effective ways of clearing your head is to inhale steam. This isn’t particularly pleasant if you sit over a steaming bowl of water with a towel over your head which is a bit of an old school method but is much more pleasant in your hot tub.

Your hot tub will give off steam and hot vapor all the time and you cannot really avoid breathing it in. The steam will go a long way to helping to clear the stuffy feeling of having a cold and you won’t have to do anything apart from breath. If you want a bit of variation on the smell then you could explore some of the hot tub aromatherapy oils that are available. Many of these are known for their relaxing qualities and also some are used to clear excessive congestion. I have a detailed post on hot tub aromatherapy here but the main thing to remember is that you must only use hot tub specific oils in your hot tub. If you are tempted to put any other oils into your hot tub you risk clogging the filtration system and damaging the working parts.

How to use a hot tub if you have a cold

So, as you can see above using a hot tub when you have a cold has many benefits. It can’t actually cure the cold but it can significantly help to ease the symptoms as well as help your body fight off the infection and hopefully recover more quickly.

Will a hot tub help a cold? - Hot Tub Focus (4)

Now, unfortunately, not all of us have the luxury of being able to take time off our busy lives for something as minor as a cold but, in an ideal world, taking two or three 20 minute or so hot tub sessions during the day would in all probability aid a quicker and less stressful recovery. If you combined this with a late-night hot tub session followed by deep and restorative sleep then you would probably recover much more quickly than if you just tried to soldier on as normal and wait for the cold to pass.

Why do you feel hot and cold when you have a cold/flu?

One of the main benefits of using a hot tub when you have a cold virus is that it will help your body to raise it’s temperature which is the only and quickest way to kill the virus. however, you really might not feel like getting into the hot tub if you feel hot already or, if you are alos having bouts of shivering, you might not feel like getting undressed and getting into the hot tub either – particularly if it is outdoors.

However, unless you have a searingly high temperature getting into the hot tub might significantly help to even out your temperature and put less stress on your body. It takes a significant amount of energy to raise your bodies temperature which is why you can feel tired when you have a cold and also why you get bouts of shivering and feeling cold as well. Your body id working so hard at directing energy into fuelling the heating up of your core that it tends to neglect the outer skin and less important areas and so you end up feeling really hot and shivering at the same time.

If you give your body a helping hand by bathing in the hot tub then it will need to dissipate less energy on raising your core temperature, you should feel less tired and you should also have less of the shivers as well.

Can I catch a cold in a hot tub?

The short answer is probably yes, but not really to any greater extent than you would do anywhere else. The cold virus is spread through the air by inhaling the airborne virus particles after a person has coughed or sneezed or via picking up the virus from a contaminated surface.

In a hot tub it is possible that the cold virus could be present on the surfaces of the hot tub but certainly not any more than in any other part of the house. Any virus particles on the water will be swiftly dealt with by the hot tub’s sanitization system and so shouldn’t be a problem.

Much more likely is that you will catch a cold in a hot tub by being in close proximity to someone who already has the virus. We tend to be close to people for a fairly extended period whilst we soak in the tub and so we are at greater risk of picking up a cold that way.

Having said that though if you work in an office, use public transport, sit on the sofa next to people or in fact have any close contact with any other humans you are at a similar amount of risk of catching a cold.

Related Questions

Does a hot bath help with a cold? Taking a hot bath when you have a cold will have many of the same benefits as using a hot tub when you have a cold. The warm water will soothe your aches and pains, the warmth of the water will help to raise your body temperature and so help it to kill off the virus. You will also feel more relaxed and positive after a bath and it will help you with good quality sleep.

Should you call off work if you have a cold? It really depends upon the severity of the cold. I terms of passing the cold to other people you are most strongly infectious during the first two or three days of having a cold and then until your symptoms have passed. If it is a very severe cold or flu then your work may prefer you to take the time off to help prevent other members of the workforce getting it and needing time off.

However, for most colds you would be expected to work through it. True, if you had the time off and really looked after yourself then you would probably recover more quickly but a cold is rarely deemed serious enough to warrant time off work.

How can you avoid catching a cold? Unfortunately, the cold virus is very easily spread and, if you come into contact with someone that has it then you are at a reasonably high chance of catching it yourself. However, there are a few things that you can do to reduce the risk. Firstly try to avoid being coughed or sneezed over to try to avoid breathing in the cold virus.

Secondly, wash your hands after being in contact with anything that the cold sufferer has touched. You should also avoid putting your hands in your mouth, nose and eyes as much as possible to lessen the risk of transferring the virus.


Using a hot tub when you have a cold can’t cure a cold but it can alleviate the symptoms and help you get better more quickly. The warm water will help to raise your body temperature which will kill off the virus. A hot tub will also help with the aches and pains that come with a cold as well as help you relax and sleep better. Finally breathing in steam from a hot tub can help to clear blocked sinuses.

Remember, most importantly, that if you do use your hot tub when you have a cold that it is doubly important to keep very well hydrated.

Of course, the best thing is to try to avoid catching a cold in the first place. Try not to get sneezed or coughed on or to be in close contact or a confined space with someone who already has a cold. Wash your hands frequently and also try to avoid putting your fingers into your mouth or rubbing your eyes.

If you do get a cold then the good news is that your body builds up immunity and you can’t get the same strain again. The slightly less good news is that there are over 200 strains of the virus out there to catch!

Andrew Hind

Will a hot tub help a cold? - Hot Tub Focus (5)

This post was created by Andrew. Enjoyer of hot tub soaking, fine cheese, music and photography.


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