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0 0.5 1 1.5 2+ Case 28% Improvement Relative Risk Thermotherapy  Ernst et al.  Prophylaxis Does thermotherapy reduce common cold infections? Prospective study of 50 patients in Austria Fewer cases with thermotherapy (not stat. sig., p=0.05) Ernst et al., Annals of Medicine, January 1990 Favors thermotherapy Favors control

Regular Sauna Bathing and the Incidence of Common Colds

Ernst et al., Annals of Medicine, doi:10.3109/07853899009148930
Jan 1990  
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42nd treatment shown to reduce risk in December 2023
*, now known with p = 0.026 from 4 studies.
Lower risk for recovery.
No treatment is 100% effective. Protocols combine complementary and synergistic treatments. * >10% efficacy in meta analysis with ≥3 clinical studies.
4,000+ studies for 60+ treatments.
Prospective study of regular sauna bathing, showing fewer common colds with treatment. Fifty volunteers were split into a treatment group that took weekly sauna baths and a control group that abstained. Over six months, the sauna group had significantly fewer common colds (33 vs 46) and fewer days with cold symptoms (221 vs 343) compared to controls. The difference was particularly pronounced in the last three months, when the sauna group had less than half as many colds. There were no significant differences between groups in duration or severity of colds.
risk of case, 28.3% lower, RR 0.72, p = 0.05, treatment 25, control 25.
Effect extraction follows pre-specified rules prioritizing more serious outcomes. Submit updates
Ernst et al., 31 Jan 1990, prospective, Austria, peer-reviewed, 4 authors.
This PaperThermotherapyAll
Regular Sauna Bathing and the Common Colds
E Ernst', P. Wirz2 E Pecho2
Incidence of Saradet h2 The high morbidity of common colds means that their economic importance is considerable, with colds causing more loss of productivity than any other infection. As no effective prophylaxis is available, this trial was to test the hypothesis that sauna bathing can reduce the incidence of common colds. Twentyfive volunteers were submitted to sauna bathing, with 25 controls abstaining from this or comparable procedures. In both groups the frequency, duration and severity of common colds were recorded for six months. There were significantly fewer episodes of common cold in the sauna group. This was found particularly during the last three months of the study period when the incidence was roughly halved compared to controls. The mean duration and average severity of common colds did not differ significantly between the groups. It is concluded that regular sauna bathing probably reduces the incidence of common colds, but further studies are needed to prove this.
Couch, The common cold: control?, J Infect Dis
Dick, Hossain, Mink, Interruption of transmission of rhinovirus colds among human volunteers using virucidal handkerchiefs, J Infect Dis
Dykes, Meier, Raymond, Medical news: The common cold. JAMA Tyrrell DAJ. The common coldmy favourite disease, J Gen Virol
Einenkel, Verbesserung des Gesundheitszustandes von Kindergartenkindern im Kreis Annaberg durch den regel-maRigen Besuch einer Betriebssauna, Z Arztl Fortbild
Ernst, Saunaa hobby or for health, J R SOC Med
Fritsche, Fritsche, Die wissenschaftlichen Grundlagen des Saunabadens
Gartner, Die Sauna in der gesundheitlichen Betreuung der Werktatigen im Betrieb, Sauna-Archiv
Gwaltney, The common cold
Hillary, The common colds, no solution yet, Ir Med J
Lowenstein, Parrino, Management of the common cold, Adv Intern Med
Merigan, Respiratory viral infections of adults, New
Monto, Ullman, Acute respiratory illness in an American community: The Tecumseh Study, JAMA
Ohira, Girandola, Simpson, Responses of leukocytes and other hematological parameters to thermal dehydration, J Appl Physiol
Panusarn, Stanley, Divda, The prevention of illness from rhinovirus infection b) a topical interferon inducer, N Engl J Med
Sachs, Angewandte Statistik
Schwartz, Togo, Hornick, Evaluation of the efficacy of ascorbic acid in prophylaxis of induced rhinovirus 44 infection in man, J Infect Dis
Tuschl, Altmann, Topaloglan, Hyperthermic treatment in the Finish saunaand its effect on DNA metabolism, J Mol Med
Walker, Bynoe, Tyrrell, Trial of ascorbic acid in prevention of colds, Br Med J
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