26 Aug 2010


So somebody at work got Shingles recently.  This led to two things for the rest of us: 'fear of getting shingles' and asking 'what is shingles?'.  Paranoia ran high, especially for the guy who had been sitting next to her (on the left).  So I sent out the following email to help clear up the confusion...

A definition of shingles from the Oxford English Dictionary.

Shingles (plural) [pron: shin-guls]:   Shingles, more commonly know as the ‘pirate disease’, is a virus from the same family as chickenpox.  The condition is highly contagious with research showing that people located to the left of someone carrying the virus are most at risk of infection, this is believed to be the origin of the popular phrase “a pirate to my left, a sailor to my right”.  Symptoms include a strong desire to have a parrot sit on their shoulder which can lead to high levels of stress for the individual as parrots often prefer to fly away.  In extreme cases infected individuals can be overcome with the urge to discover ‘treasure’, where they can be seen digging random holes in the pursuit of such treasure.  A reported case in 1997 saw four individuals with shingles enter a supermarket car park with a JCB digger, but the police were able to restrain them before any damage was done.