Former Strictly star James Jordan wishes he’d gone to a doctor sooner after suffering from a nasty red rash on his lower back writes Alec McQuarrie.
Jordan, who appeared as a professional dancer on the hit show for seven years with his wife Ola, was on holiday in Abu Dhabi when shingles struck and regrettably, he didn’t seek help until he returned.
Shingles affects one in four people who’ve had chickenpox and appears as a painful rash affecting a specific area of skin caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox (varicella zoster) virus.
When the irritating rash appeared, Jordan initially thought it was from sunburn, but when the blisters turned black, he immediately went to his GP.
“I was sitting at dinner and the pain was getting worse. I’m sure I’m sunburnt. I’m sure my wife’s missed a patch of suncream,” he said.
“I said to my mum to have a look and she said it’s quite a nasty rash, it looks like shingles. I didn’t know what shingles was really. I thought it was something that older people got.
“I got home and went straight to my doctor because it hadn’t gone away. That’s when my GP said it’s shingles.
“I asked if there was anything I could take because of the discomfort and she said, not really, you needed to get to us within the first 72 hours for a treatment to be more effective.
Check out this @TheSun article - @EamonnHolmes and I talk about @gsk’s new Understanding Shingles report and why we are raising awareness about the condition with @gsk, the Shingles Support Society and Age UK. Visit https://t.co/0Fd7m3391S. Funded by GSKhttps://t.co/AWYE1UPrXk
— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) September 30, 2022
“The only way I can describe it is like having bad sunburn and someone rubbing sand in it. It’s that continuous discomfort.
“I was fortunate that I could cover mine up but at the same time because it was on my beltline, underwear, and swim shorts, in and out of the water, was always rubbing on it.
“When that’s continuous for a long time it can get a bit tiresome as well. Yes, it’s not nice, it’s not pleasant.”
Jordan is partnering with GSK to raise awareness of shingles and its potential complications as part of a new report, ‘Understanding Shingles’.
The report is part of GSK’s Understanding Shingles campaign, which is also being supported by the Shingles Support Society and Age UK.
The campaign revealed some significant gaps in the understanding of shingles, with almost half (48%) of participants incorrectly believing that you can catch shingles from someone else who has it.
Though Jordan is 44 years old, younger than the typical shingles patient, it is still important to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms.
While most people make a full recovery, shingles can potentially lead to serious and long-lasting complications.
Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is the most common complication, occurring in around 20% of all shingles cases, with people aged 50 and over particularly at risk.
“Personally, I didn’t really know much about shingles, so I didn’t even know there were potential long term complications, which I’m quite happy about in a way, because I’m a bit of a worry sometimes,” said Jordan.
“I think it’s important to try to educate people like it’s educated me now.
“If anyone they know or if they get it themselves, they’re much more aware of it, what not to panic about and to understand that it’s not contagious for people that have had chickenpox. They can’t catch shingles.
“Just having a bit of knowledge and that’s why we’ve teamed up with GSK to raise awareness.”
Almost half (48%) of participants in the GSK-commissioned survey incorrectly believed that you could catch shingles from someone else who has it.
But it can still be passed on if someone has not suffered from chickenpox in their childhood, which is something Jordan was glad to discover.
He said: “I was so happy I did go see a healthcare professional because one of my friends was heavily pregnant at the time and I wasn’t aware whether she had had chickenpox.
“My doctor just said, just maybe stay away from them until it’s cleared up, which is great advice because I wouldn’t have known that.
“There’s a lot of things that I didn’t know and that’s why the website www.understandingshingles.co.uk is so important that people go there to get the right information.”
Understanding Shingles is a campaign by GSK supported by Eammon Holmes and James Jordan, in partnership with the Shingles Support Society and Age UK. For more information visit www.understandingshingles.co.uk