The death this week of the man considered the “dirtiest in the world” drew attention to the fact that someone can go around 70 years without taking a shower. Iranian Amou Haji died at the age of 94, ironically, months after being convinced to take a shower .
According to a local official quoted by the IRNA news agency, the man, who was single, avoided showering for fear of “falling ill”.
The fear, however, led him to a life of “vulnerability”, explains Christian Morinaga, medical manager of the emergency room at the Sírio-Libanês hospital.
“This habit [não tomar banho] has very serious consequences. We can say that, really, his quality of life was not good. […] Although he lived so long, from the state you see his skin, he lived a long time in a very vulnerable state. That skin probably bothered him a lot.”
By not taking a shower for more than two days, we begin to accumulate dead skin cells, excess sebum and an imbalance of bacteria that live on our skin. This set of factors usually does not have a positive effect on health, adds the doctor.
“When you don’t have this deletion [de pele morta], the skin thickens and causes lesions. In this case, you notice that his skin thickens, this generates lesions, itching… this can precipitate certain dermatological diseases such as psoriasis, dermatitis, which in themselves cause a lot of discomfort.”
The greatest risk involves microorganisms that can cause infections capable of entering the body, causing sepsis in the most severe cases.
Among the homeless, for example, it is also difficult to maintain a bathing routine.
“Often there are consequences that lead them to consult a health service, and part of the treatment ends up being bathing,” Morinaga points out.
From the photos, it is clear that Amou Haji has not practiced good hand hygiene either, which the doctor warns is another risk factor for the development of diseases, as they can be a vehicle for the ingestion of bacteria that cause gastrointestinal problems.
The Iranian case is, of course, an exception. In the doctor’s opinion, few people could survive that long without experiencing life-threatening health complications – long before they had gone decades without showering.
If not showering is a problem, so is too much. “The ideal frequency does not exist in the medical literature,” Morinaga recalls, but it is understood that it should be something every day or every other day and no more than two baths a day.
“In excess it also eliminates this layer of oil which often serves as protection”, he specifies.