Medical Q&As

Chicken pox - safe to bathe?

I am a 25-year-old woman and have recently contracted chicken pox. I wish to have a shower or bath but am unsure about what to wash with especially my hair as I have most of the rash in my hair. I would also like to know what would cause scarring as I have big blisters on my face?

It is perfectly safe to bathe when you have chicken pox and you would probably feel much better having cleaned your skin. Many people find it comforting to soak in a bread soda bath, which also helps to give some relief from itch. A bread soda bath is simply prepared by adding one cup of baking soda to a bath of warm water. With regard to washing your hair it is best to use the gentlest of shampoos, such as one would use when washing a small infant. Scarring usually arises as a result of secondary infection of the chicken pox blisters, hence the advice not to scratch the blisters. Scratching the blisters may transfer bacteria from your nails into the pox lesion thereby causing further inflammation that might leave a small permanent crater in the skin. Therefore if your skin is very itchy apply some calamine lotion to the skin and re-apply the lotion frequently because its duration of action is quite short. Calamine lotion cools and eases itch in the skin for no more than a couple of hours on each application. Also, when you dry your skin or hair after washing use a soft fluffy towel so that you are not being too rough with your skin.