Man drying his wet hair with a towel after showering.

So, you’re not feeling well – maybe it’s a persistent headache that’s been dogging you all day or an annoying flu that just won’t quit. Whatever the cause, there are some rules you need to follow if you want to get better. For one, you’re not supposed to bathe, or so the folklore goes. But does sitting around in sweaty pajamas truly pave the way to recovery? Below, we’ll uncover the science behind this old wives’ tale and what you can do to recuperate.

The Myth of Avoiding Baths When Sick

The belief that you shouldn’t shower when you’re not feeling well is baseless. However, many cultures in Asia share the same traditional wisdom that cold water could worsen an illness.

In traditional Chinese medicine, sickness causes significant fluid and blood loss. This puts you in a weak state as less blood flow means lower “qi” or life force levels, and bathing can cause “wind” to enter your body. Long story short, you’ll catch a cold if you take too long in the bathroom.

Interestingly, Ayurvedic medicine follows a similar line of thinking. Taking when you’re sick can aggravate your vata dosha – the energy that controls mobility. The imbalance can result in muscle pain, constipation, and headaches.

From these two ancient practices, it becomes clear that the concern is not so much about bathing itself, but exposing your body to cold air. So, you can (and should) wash up as long as the water is not bone-chilling and make it quick!

Go Ahead, Take a Shower

should always take priority, even when you’re not feeling well. A short bath or shower is not going to make you feel worse. In fact, it may have the opposite effect.

If you’ve been sniffling all day, a warm shower can help unclog your congested nose. The steam and increased humidity can help loosen mucus that blocks your sinus passages. Moreover, numerous studies have found that it can relieve and fatigue – the two most common signs of flu.

As for those wondering, “Can I take a bath when I have a fever?” The answer is yes. Fever often causes you to sweat profusely, making your skin feel clammy. A short bath or shower can offer a sweet relief from this icky sensation. Plus, an evening wash, ideally 90 minutes before bedtime, can help you and improve .

Bathing Tips to Help You Feel Better

When you’re not in the pink of health, some adjustments to your bathing routine can help alleviate your symptoms.

Choose the right water temperature.

Don’t turn the faucet all the way to the left. The water should be slightly warmer than your body temperature or it will zap moisture from your skin and hair. To keep your strands healthy and strong, wash them with Dove Men+Care Refreshing Clean Shampoo. This 2-in-1 shampoo is infused with caffeine to boost and menthol that leaves a cooling effect on your scalp.

Keep it short.

As tempting as it is to take a long bath when you’re not feeling well, it can put undue strain on your body. The sweet spot is between 10 to 15 minutes. It’s enough time to relax your muscles and cleanse your skin from head to toe, including your face. Use POND'S Men Facial Wash Energy Charge to help you look more awake. It has antioxidant-rich coffee bean extracts that brighten and control on your skin.

Blow your nose.

Let those snot out while you’re in the bathroom. It’s more efficient than sniffling the mucus back into your nose. All you need to do is run the tap with warm water and cover one nostril with one finger. Gently exhale through your nose until you’ve successfully cleared your nasal passages. Don’t forget to wash your hands afterward.

Do a saltwater gargle.

Dealing with a sore throat? Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Then, gargle it in your throat for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. You can repeat this process several times a day to break up phlegm and soothe irritation caused by coughing.

TL;DR: It’s okay to bathe when you’re not feeling well. Just remember to use warm water and avoid prolonged exposure to cold air. Last but not least, rest and allow yourself to do nothing. You’ll get better in no time.