Can a sauna session make me sick?

Possibly, but don’t blame the steam room or sauna. Look around – you’re in close quarters with germ-carrying men. And staying in for that long can leave you seriously dehydrated, which makes you more susceptible to illness – it’s like handing a free membership to viruses.

If you’re going in after a workout, down a glass or two of water first and a few more afterward, says Dr Andrew Feldman, chief of sports medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan. Spend a maximum of 20 minutes in the sauna and steam room combined, and don’t indulge more than three times a week.

And do your fellow gym rats a favour: Don’t go in if you have a respiratory infection or an open wound. Also, remember that saunas can hit 85 degrees Celsius and pulse rates jump at least 30 per cent. Heart patients should check with their doctors first.


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