Risks of using steam rooms

Written by kaye wagner
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Risks of using steam rooms
Put a cool, wet towel on your heat to prevent overheating. (beautiful young woman is relaxing in sauna image by NiDerLander from Fotolia.com)

Steam rooms can be a relaxing way to end a long day. The steam room encourages sweat, which is a natural way to cleanse the body and drain it of toxins. The steam room, however, is not healthy for everyone and must only be entered under certain circumstances and for certain amounts of time. The risks involved in staying in a steam room range from less serious, short-term issues to creating serious long-term issues.


Many people sit in steam rooms to sweat out impurities. Any impurities that do leave with the sweat, however, are also taking water from your body,too. Because of this, it is easy to get dehydrated if you sit in a sauna for too long. Dehydration is a particular concern if you're using the steam room after working out. Avoid this by drinking cool water while in the steam room and not staying in it for longer than 12 minutes, according to the University of Alabama Birmingham website. The cool water also helps keep you from overheating.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a common end result if steam-room dehydration is not treated immediately and if you continue to sit in the steam room. Sweating is the process by which the body attempts to cool itself down. When the body runs out of water, as in dehydration, it is unable to cool itself down and it overheats. This overheating is referred to as heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in disorientation, hallucinations and unconsciousness. If a person is passed out in a steam room and is not found and treated for heat stroke, their heart rate can continue to lower and their condition can be life threatening. Avoid this by staying hydrated and limiting your time in the steam room. Never lay down or go into a steam room when you are tired. Set an alarm if you are concerned about falling asleep.

Birth Defects

Most steam rooms display a sign next to the door that advises or bans pregnant women from entering the steam room. This is because steam rooms can raise your body temperature higher than 39 degrees C. When your internal body temperature is above 102.2 your internal blood pressure falls. This can cut or limit the oxygen and nutrition supply to your foetus, which can result in birth defects and brain damage. Steam rooms can also make anyone feel light-headed and faint. If this happens to a pregnant woman, she could fall on her stomach and harm or even lose the child. For the same reasons as steam rooms, pregnant women should also avoid saunas, hot tubs or very hot baths that would raise their internal body temperature above 39 degrees C.

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