Here’s How a Steamy Shower Can Help Relieve Your Cold and Flu Symptoms
Take a stroll down any cold and flu aisle lately and you’ll notice the shelves looking particularly bare, which can only mean one thing — cold and flu season is officially upon us. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to keep these pesky germs out of our homes, most households will wind up battling cold and flu-like symptoms at some point this season. While many of us are inclined to reach for an over-the-counter medication as soon as symptoms arise (as evidenced by those empty drug store shelves), the majority of them merely mask your symptoms with pain relievers. So, although it’s always nice to feel better, it’s even nicer to shorten the duration of your illness and get back to feeling like yourself, sooner. For that, we need to turn to more natural options that soothe the body and promote healing — and nothing does that quite like the power of an extra steamy shower.
Loosens Congestion & Rehydrates Nasal Passages: As any parent of a child prone to developing Croup knows, steam is an absolute lifesaver when it comes to soothing a persistent cough. It does this by loosening up the congestion that causes the wet, nagging coughs often associated with the common cold. At the same time, the steam will also help rehydrate and open up your nasal passages, allowing you to breathe more clearly. To amplify these effects, incorporate eucalyptus by tying a bundle to your shower head or tossing in a eucalyptus shower steamer. Eucalyptus has powerful anti-microbial properties that not only attack viral infections (like the common cold and flu) but also kill off bacteria that cause secondary illnesses, like sinus infections. Incorporating eucalyptus into your shower routine can also help with your aches and pains (including your sore throat) thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. So, before you head to your local pharmacy, pick up some eucalyptus or eucalyptus oil for a more spa-like solution.
Helps Ease the Pressure of Sinus Headaches: While we wouldn’t choose to come down with any of these symptoms, sinus headaches might just be the most annoying one of them all. The pain and pressure can make it feel like your days are passing in slow motion and prevent you from being able to focus on your daily tasks. Fortunately, a steamy shower can help eliminate the pressure by adding some much-needed moisture into the air and opening up your nasal passages. Starting and ending your sick days with an extra steamy shower and supplementing with a humidifier throughout the day will help keep the pressure at bay, so you can keep on keeping on.
Relaxes Achy Muscles Before Bed: Whether you’re battling a cold, flu, or a combination of the two, getting enough sleep is crucial to your recovery. That’s because, when your body is at rest it produces the T cells it needs to fight off viruses like the common cold. But, as anyone who has suffered from the cold and flu knows, the associated symptoms make that much easier said than done. Between a stuffy nose, nagging cough, and body aches getting comfortable enough to fall asleep can feel nearly impossible. While there are certainly some over-the-counter drugs that can help with sleep, it’s always nice to lean on natural remedies when possible. When our own aches and pains prevent us from getting the sleep we need to feel better, we drag our tired bodies into the shower (or bath). In addition to helping with all of the symptoms mentioned above, the hot water also helps relax your tired achy muscles, allowing you to drift off to sleep peacefully and get the rest your body needs.
Whether you prefer over-the-counter medications or home remedies, incorporating a steam shower into your virus-fighting repertoire can ease your symptoms and get you back to feeling like yourself sooner. So, grab some eucalyptus, crank up the heat and breathe in all the glorious benefits that steam has to offer.