Cliff Richard health: Star nearly blinded after horrible condition -it was dangerous

Cliff Richard discusses why he won't pose topless for photos

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Amongst his remarkable success within the music and film industry, that earned him an OBE in the first place, in 2014 a catastrophic event turned Sir Cliff’s life upside down. In August of that year Yorkshire police were pictured raiding the star’s home in Sunningdale Berkshire, after allegations of sexual assault against the star were claimed. Understandably so, the accusation and two-year ordeal that followed caused Sir Cliff immense stress and anxiety, leading to a deterioration in his health.

Talking about the difficult time in his life Sir Cliff has previously said that within six months of the allegation he had developed severe shingles all over his head and face.

“It looked so horrible I thought, ‘I can’t believe it is happening,'” he elaborated.

The Mayo Clinic explains that shingles is an infection similar to chickenpox. The virus can lie dormant for years within the nervous system of individuals who have already had chickenpox, and when it is when it reactivates that it can develop into shingles.

The exact cause is still unknown by medical professionals, but it may be due to a lowered immunity to infections as people get older.

Healthline also claims that multiple studies have linked chronic daily stress, as well as highly stressful life events as a trigger for shingles.

This risk increases even further if stress is accompanied by other factors such as advancing age, mood disorders, and poor diet.

Explaining more about his experience with the infection on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, Sir Cliff said: “I had been through a really, really bad time of my life. I went through a terrible time.

“Within four months of my accuser setting fire to my life, I had a pimple on my head and I was in Portugal so I called a friendly doctor I know and said, ‘Can you come and see me, I don’t know what’s wrong’.

“He came the next morning and he said, ‘You have shingles’. And I said, ‘Well how can I get shingles?’ and he said, ‘Stress’.”

Not only did Sir Cliff have to deal with the infection, due to the placement of the infection, he was at risk of going completely blind.

“It was so dangerous – do you see how close it got to my eyes? Had it happened on my eye I might have gone blind,” Sir Cliff added.

Healthline describes the wider effects that stress can have on your body, some of which can be life-changing and chronic. They include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Changes in mood, including increasing feelings of anger, sadness, or anxiety
  • Overeating or undereating.

Later on in the programme, Sir Cliff explained more about the effects that these accusations had on him physically. He said that when he realised the impact they could have on his whole life he collapsed to the floor.

He continued: “I had fallen down because what I had thought was, ‘Oh my God, I’m in a pit and I don’t know how to get out of this pit. My career rests on it, everything, everything that I’d lived for rested on this’.

“I’m thinking I could actually end in prison as an innocent man. And suddenly my legs just wobbled, went wobbly and I went to the floor.”

Symptoms of shingles

The NHS explains that the first signs of shingles are usually a tingling or painful feeling in an area of the skin, or a headache and general unwell feeling.

From this individuals usually get a rash on their chest and tummy, but like Sir Cliff experienced, this rash can appear anywhere on your body including face, eyes and genitals.

As the rash develops, blotches become extremely itchy and can blister, oozing fluid until they dry out and scab.

This rash can take up to four weeks to heal, leaving skin painful and fragile. In order to speed up recovery, the NHS recommends the following things:

  • 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 bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel or a wet cloth) a few times a day.

Due to the nature of the condition, a shingles vaccine has been developed and is currently offered to people in their 70s, which can help reduce their risk of getting the condition. After being vaccinated, symptoms can be much milder.

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