Going to the Beach With a Cold: Good or Bad Idea?

It’s a quintessential summer day. The sky is an unbroken expanse of blue, the sun is shining in full glory, and the rhythmic crash of ocean waves is calling your name. But there’s a snag in your perfect beach day plan – a pesky cold.

Going to the Beach With a Cold

You’re sniffling, coughing, and wrapped in a blanket despite the heat. Yet, you still yearn for the refreshing sea breeze, the feeling of sand under your feet, and the soothing lull of the sea. The question arises, should you go to the beach with a cold?

Keep reading on as we dive deep into this topic to answer the most commonly asked questions and help you make an informed decision.

Does going to the beach help with a cold or make it worse?

Going to the beach with a cold can have both benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, the fresh air may improve ventilation and circulation, potentially helping clear up a stuffy nose. Some believe that the saline in seawater can help clear the nasal passages, although this isn’t scientifically proven.

On the downside, the physical exertion, exposure to heat, and risk of dehydration could potentially worsen your cold symptoms. Furthermore, if your body is fighting a cold, exposure to excessive heat or intense physical activity like swimming with a cold or participating in beach games could overtax your body and divert resources away from your immune response.

In general, if you’re sick, you should stay at home and rest until you’ve recovered, or at least until you’re not contagious anymore. Going to the beach earlier than that will be a bad time for you and others who do not want to catch your cold.

Can I spread my cold to others at the beach?

Yes, the cold virus can be spread to others. The common cold is typically transmitted through airborne droplets when you cough or sneeze, or through direct contact with contaminated surfaces. If you’re at the beach and sharing spaces or items with others, there’s a risk of transmission.

Therefore, it’s important to follow proper hygiene practices, such as covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, not sharing towels or other personal items, and washing your hands regularly. Even better, just don’t go to the beach if you’re sick.

Will the sun or heat at the beach affect my cold symptoms?

Exposure to sun or heat doesn’t directly affect your cold symptoms. However, excessive heat and sun exposure can lead to dehydration, which can worsen your cold symptoms and overall feeling of wellbeing. Additionally, too much sun can weaken your immune system, potentially slowing down your recovery from the cold.

Is it safe to swim in the ocean while I have a cold?

Swimming in the ocean while you have a cold could potentially exacerbate your symptoms, especially if you’re experiencing severe congestion or an ear infection.

The pressure change from diving or swimming underwater can be uncomfortable and potentially harmful with a congested nose or ears. Furthermore, the physical exertion of swimming might overtax your already strained body.

Are there specific precautions I should take if I go to the beach with a cold?

Yes, there are several precautions to take. Firstly, maintain good hydration as the sun and heat can dehydrate you, which may worsen your symptoms. Secondly, avoid intense physical activities that could overtax your body.

Protect yourself from excessive sun exposure by using sunblock, wearing a hat, and using a beach umbrella. Lastly, avoid spreading the virus to others by practicing good hygiene and avoiding close contact with others. The best precaution is to stay home until you’re recovered.

Does having a cold increase my risk of sunburn or dehydration at the beach?

Having a cold doesn’t directly increase your risk of sunburn, but if your cold medication makes you drowsy, you might not be as vigilant about reapplying sunscreen. Dehydration is a risk with a cold, as your body uses fluids in the production of mucus, and the heat at the beach can exacerbate this. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids to counteract this.

Are there certain cold symptoms that definitely mean I shouldn’t go to the beach?

Yes, if you have a high fever, severe cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or extreme fatigue, it’s a good idea to rest at home rather than going to the beach. These symptoms indicate that your body is under significant stress and needs rest to recover. Going to the beach in such a condition might prolong your recovery and potentially lead to more serious complications.