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This Morning: Dr Chris explains symptoms of shingles

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Andi Peters, 51, was forced to take sick leave from ITV shows Good Morning Britain and Lorraine at the start of 2020 after contracting shingles – an infection that causes a painful rash. After recovering he said: “My 2020 has been ridiculous, it started with shingles for two weeks.” But Peters said his work team were very supportive, and revealed even Piers Morgan was worried.

He continued: “I was lucky, how many days are u allowed to miss taking propecia I had it quite bad but not as bad as some people who have no nerve endings for months.”

Peters was worried after his but of shingles his immune system would be down and also voiced fears at being susceptible to coronavirus.

He said: “Plus, we now know, being black and a man, you are more susceptible to it and you are a lot more at risk if you do catch it.”

But luckily for Peters, Dr Hilary Jones – another regular on ITV’s morning TV shows – issued his advice.

He continued: “Dr Hilary said because I had had shingles my immune system would be really strong at anything else because it had to be at its highest to get rid of the shingles.

“That was really comforting because I was so worried.”

How do you know if you have shingles?

According to the NHS, the first signs can be:

  • a tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin
  • a headache or feeling generally unwell

A rash will then appear a few days later.

The health body explains: “Usually you get the shingles rash on your chest and tummy, but it can appear anywhere on your body including on your face, eyes and genitals.

“The rash appears as blotches on your skin, on one side of your body only. A rash on both the left and right of your body is unlikely to be shingles.”

If you suspect shingles you should get advice from 111 as soon as possible.

The health body continues: “You might need medicine to help speed up your recovery and avoid longer-lasting problems.

“This works best if taken within three days of your symptoms starting.

“111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.”

You can treat shingles symptoms yourself:

  • take paracetamol to ease pain
  • keep the rash clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection
  • wear loose-fitting clothing
  • use a cool compress (a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel or a wet cloth) a few times a day

But you should avoid:

  • Letting dressings or plasters stick to the rash
  • Using antibiotic cream as this slows healing

It can take up to four weeks for the rash to heal.

You cannot spread shingles to others, but people who haven’t had chickenpox before could catch chickenpox from you.

Try to avoid:

  • pregnant people who have not had chickenpox before
  • people with a weakened immune system – like someone having chemotherapy
  • babies less than one month old – unless you gave birth to them, as your baby should be protected from the virus by your immune system

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