Loose Women panel and crew decimated by shingles outbreak!

Backstage on the set of hit ITV talk show Loose Women, chaos apparently reigns as members of the show’s panel and production staff have been struck down with the painful shingles virus.

Shingles is course linked to chickenpox and the herpes zoster virus, which causes painful rashes that usually run along the length of nerves in the body.

The Daily Mirror reports that panelists Janet Street Porter and Jane McDonald have both been sent home with the disease, and on Wednesday, actress and TV host Claire Sweeney was brought in to make up the numbers.

The paper adds, “Recently presenter Andrea McLean was also off sick with the disease and on Monday an executive producer was signed off for two weeks with chicken pox…”

An ITV source told the paper, “Shingles is sweeping through the show and it has left us really stretched for staff and scrambling around for female presenters at the last minute.

“Jane came in at 8am and wasn’t feeling well so she went to occupation health and they diagnosed her and sent her home.

“Her doctor has also told her to rest up. Luckily Claire was able to step in, but we are now drawing up a list of standby hosts in case anyone else calls in sick.

“We are down to the bare minimum of Loose Women.”

Here’s what the BBC’s Health website has to say about shingles…

The first sign of shingles is usually excessively sensitive, tingling or burning skin where the shingles rash subsequently appears. The area is often painful. At the same time, you may experience fever, headache and enlarged lymph nodes.

After a few days, the characteristic shingles rash appears as a band or patch of red spots on the side of the trunk or face. It usually appears on one side only. The rash develops into fluid-filled blisters that then collapse, forming small ulcers. These dry out and form crusts.

A common complication of shingles is pain in the area of the rash that persists after it has disappeared, called post-herpetic neuralgia which is more likely to occur the older you are. People with intractable post-herpetic pain often become depressed.

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.