Written by IainB
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Topics: illness

Thursday, 21 February 2013

image for National Shingles Day announced
Shingles is named after the 18th Century physician who discovered it, Dr Shingles. He went bald, and had to grow a beard

When children are young, many a parent will attempt to have a so-called Chicken Pox Party. This is an attempt to deliberately infect their child with this mild, but virulent disease early on, so that they do not scar.

With the advances in modern medicine, those people who were unable to get to a Chicken Pox Party as a baby, can now contract Chicken Pox as an adult, take the relevant medication, and avoid scarring just like a child.

"There is something of a taboo, when it comes to deliberately infecting other adults," said Germima Coli, the government's scientific co-ordinator for National Shingles Day. "This is why we are launching National Shingles Day."

Shingles is the same disease as Chicken Pox, but caught later in life, so the symptoms can be more horrific. The idea behind National Shingles day is to allow adults to catch the disease in a controlled way.

"When people catch Shingles by accidental transmission," said Germima, "then there is a great deal of pain, horrific scarring, and disfigurement of facial features. In some cases, all your hair can fall out. It's not a nice disease. Catching it in a controlled way means that there is a greater chance of applying the medication and avoiding all of these symptoms completely."

On March fifth, anybody with Shingles is encouraged to invite as many friends who have never had Chicken Pox to come around to their place of abode, and catch the disease.

"We will provide all of the best ways to transfer the disease to the uninfected," Germima said. "Additionally, medication will be available. This part is important. Don't hold the party unless your medication has arrived."

People can catch Shingles at any point in the year, but it is hoped that by having a particular day given over, then more people can be infected and treated.

"I hope people do have Shingles on this day," Germima said. "Otherwise the whole thing will have been a massive waste of money."

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