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Should you take a bath if you have chicken pox? (Query)

It is a common misconception that you should not take a bath if you have chickenpox. But here's what our expert has to say!

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Updated : January 6, 2017 6:11 PM IST

I am a 20-year-old male suffering from chickenpox. One of my mum's friend said that I should not take a bath for at least seven days. Is it right? I mean, should you not take a bath if you have chicken pox? If yes, for how long? Please answer.

The query is answered by Dr Pradip Shah, Consultant Physician at Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

Chickenpox is a viral infection, which attacks the body and gets localised in the skin causing pustules (boils filled with fluid). The virus is highly contagious when it starts to dry up and form a crust. The crust usually falls off within one or two weeks after the initial appearance of the symptoms of chickenpox. When the virus is active; it causes the appearance of boils all over the body, which is usually characterised by fever and pain, which makes it difficult to take a bath. However, there is no said rule not to take a bath as maintaining hygiene and sanitation is of utmost important for quick recovery, when suffering from chickenpox. Meanwhile, here are few things you should not do if you have chickenpox.

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If you want to take a bath, then make sure you use only plain, lukewarm water. Avoid using soap (as you do in the normal case) as the chemicals present in the soap might cause skin itching and stinging when comes it contact with the already ruptured boils. Hence, make sure you do not rub your skin too harshly while taking a bath as it might cause rupturing of the boils as well. Hence, you must take care while taking a shower. Also, after taking a bath, make sure you allow the body to dry naturally. Using a towel to clean your body after a bath can cause the fluid to leak and spread onto the cloth, increasingly the risk of spreading the infection. Just dab a soft towel over the body for the water droplets to dry up.

As the risk of rupturing the boils and spread of the infection is high during the first seven days, it is advised not to take a bath for five to seven days. In such a case, you need to wait for the first seven days or till the lesions dry up to take a bath. Also read about tried and tested home remedies for chicken pox scars that WORK!

Read this in Hindi.

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