What is shingles and is it contagious? Symptoms and treatment as Holly Willoughby misses This Morning

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Holly Willoughby’s absence from ITV daytime show This Morning will continue ‘for the rest of the week’ after she confirmed she has shingles.

Holly Willoughby had already been off This Morning for the Easter holidays, but now it seems that her break will continue as the star has come down with shingles. But what is the illness, is it contagious and can it be treated?

Confirming the news on Sunday night to instagram.com/hollywilloughby/?hl=en">her Instagram followers, she wrote: “Hi, just to let you know I may be away for the rest of the week as I have shingles. I’ll be back as soon as I am better, huge love, Holly”.

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Taking her place in the ITV hotseat is The Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes, who will be accompanied by the returning Philip Schofield. The presenter has not been seen on the sofa for some time, as he took leave from the show when his brother appeared in court.

Timothy Schofield, 54, was charged with 11 sexual offences involving a child between 2016 and October 2019 at Exeter Crown Court on April 3. Philip said in a statement following the verdict that he “no longer has a brother”, labelling the crimes as despicable.

So fans of This Morning will have to wait just that little bit longer to see their favourite hosting duo back on the programme together, as Holly Willoughby continues her recovery. Here is everything you need to know about shingles.

How to check if you have shingles - symptoms, causes, treatment and vaccine

According to the NHS, shingles “is an infection that causes a painful rash” and is caused by the chickenpox virus. It most commonly appears on the chest or abdomen area, but the rash can also be found on your face, eyes and genitals.

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It appears as blotches on your skin and should only be found on one side of your body. The blotches are red and can become itchy, and depending on where, it could affect your sight, hearing and make it difficult to move one side of your face.

Holly Willoughby will have to wait longer to reunite with Philip Schofield as she has shingles - Credit: Getty Images / AdobeHolly Willoughby will have to wait longer to reunite with Philip Schofield as she has shingles - Credit: Getty Images / Adobe
Holly Willoughby will have to wait longer to reunite with Philip Schofield as she has shingles - Credit: Getty Images / Adobe | Getty Images - Adobe

To treat shingles, you are advised to:

  • 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 few times a day, such as a wet cloth

Health experts warn to not let plasters or dressings stick to the rash and never to use antibiotic cream as it slows down the healing.

There is such a thing as a shingles vaccine which is available on the NHS for people in their 70s which helps reduce the risk of contracting the illness. It is still possible to get shingles after the vaccination, but the symptoms can be far milder.

If you are interested in getting the shingles vaccine, visit the NHS website for further information and find out if you are eligible.

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Is shingles contagious?

It is impossible to spread shingles to others, but people who are still yet to have chickenpox in their lives could catch it from you. This is because shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus and you can only spread the infection if your rash oozes fluid.

In this case, try to avoid the following groups of vulnerable people:

  • Pregnant people - especially those who have not had chickenpox before
  • People with a weakened immune system – like someone having chemotherapy
  • Babies less than 1 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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