England are playing Wales on Thursday afternoon (June 16). Let that sink in a moment. A British derby in a European competition that is pivotal to English (and Welsh) hopes and it’s all happening while you’re supposed to be working out the Weekly User Statistics for whatever futile thing that pays your mortgage.

It’s not good enough – and nor are the excuses you used for the Lord’s Test match because that was only a few days ago and (not unlike England at Euro 2016) a bit of a damp squib.

So, for the purposes of patriotism, here is a list of 5 highly contagious diseases that you can tell your boss about on Thursday morning, just before nipping out to Tesco Express for some Buds and Pringles. England expects…

Ring worm

1. Ringworm

Not a worm at all, but it conjures up an icky image. It’s actually a fungal infection of the skin leaving red rings. Not fatal, which helps, but its ability to spread from person to person is top-notch – only skin contact is needed. Guaranteed to ensure that you are unwelcome at high tea.

2. Smallpox

This disease has been eradicated in its human form since 1979 but that shouldn’t prevent you deploying it as an excuse because its ability to spark epidemics is the stuff of legends. Be prepared to adorn yourself with red Cheerios in order to emulate the rashes and blisters should your boss require webcam evidence.

Rats have been known to carry a variety of diseases

3. Typhoid fever

Another non-fatal horror, which helps on Friday morning, but its symptoms include the ability to lie dormant for long periods of time which is the perfect conditions to watch England. It is spread through bad sanitation so there’s the back-up of blaming the filthy office facilities should doubt be cast on your sincerity.

4. Influenza

Not just a bad cold, influenza has a long history of laying waste to the human species mostly because it is highly contagious and spread through coughs and sneezes although it takes a week between infection and symptions so it has the added advantage of spreading terror in your absence.

Bubonic Plague

5. Bubonic plague

This is the nuclear option, of course. It causes death after about four days – enough time to persuade your GP to confess to a misdiagnosis. Or, alternatively, play along with the plague until the final on July 10. In for a penny…

You wouldn't wish these on your worst enemy

And 5 diseases that are not directly contagious but, trust us, no-one in the office is going to take that risk.

  1. Aquagenic utricaria – an allergy to water which results in painful rashes. It is not as yet clear whether coconut water has the same impact – because that would bring Canary Wharf to a halt.
  2. Brainerd diarrhoea – sufferers experience up to 20, er, episodes a day and the infection can last for months. Brainerd refers to the place in America where it was discovered, not the mental state of the sufferer after the 20th detonation.
  3. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – ouch that hurts. Really hurts. Like extreme burning and sensitivity to the touch which ranks higher than childbirth and amputation on the pain scale.
  4. Ondine’s curse – Otherwise known as “congenital central hypoventilation syndrome,” sufferers have to consciously remember to breathe. Perfect for penalty shoot-outs.
  5. Phossy Jaw – 19th century match factory workers suffered from this after using toxic white phosphorus. The jaw would fill with pus and rot away, giving off the odour of death. If that wasn’t enough, the jaw would glow in the dark. One way to read your Roy Of The Rovers annual under the covers if you’re a glass half full kind of person.