Cliff Richard: I battled shingles six months after abuse allegation
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Sir Cliff Richard has delighted the world over for decades through his music, acting and philanthropy. However, some of Sir Cliff’s light temporarily diminished following false allegations of child abuse. Yorkshire Police raided his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014, following the allegations. Despite the police announcing that no charges would be brought against the singer in 2016, he was subject to a two-year ordeal that caused his health to deteriorate.
Reflecting on that harrowing time, Sir Cliff said: “Within six months of the allegation I had shingles all over my head and face.”
He added: “It looked so horrible I thought, ‘I can’t believe it is happening'”.
What are shingles?
Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash.
According to Bupa, it is caused by the re-activation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in your body.
“After you’ve had chickenpox, VZV stays in nerve cells in your spinal cord for the rest of your life,” explains the health body.
Usually, the virus lies dormant and doesn’t cause any problems.
But, as Bupa explains, if your immune system, which normally protects your body against infection, is weakened the virus can become active again and cause shingles.
The first signs of shingles can be:
- A tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin
- A headache or feeling generally unwell.
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According to the NHS, a rash will typically appear a few days later.
Usually you get shingles on your chest and tummy, but, like Sir Cliff, it can appear on your face, eyes and genitals, notes the health body.
How to treat shingles
Shingles isn’t a life-threatening condition, but it can be very painful.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for shingles, “but prompt treatment with prescription antiviral drugs can speed healing and reduce your risk of complications,” explains the Mayo Clinic.
- Acyclovir (Zovirax)
- Valacyclovir (Valtrex).
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), if you have severe pain, your dermatologist may prescribe a medication that reduces inflammation, such as a corticosteroid.
How long will shingles last night?
Most people get shingles once, but it’s possible to get it again.
According to AAD, if you have a healthy immune system, the blisters tend to clear in seven to 10 days.
“The rash tends to go away completely within two to four weeks,” explains the health body.
“The pain may last longer, but usually stops in one or two months.”
For some people, the pain will last longer than the rash.
“Your skin can be painful for weeks after the rash has gone, but it usually settles over time,” notes the NHS.
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