“Look at people on the front line who have lost their lives” - Egan on contracting Covid-19

By Stephen Leonard

ONE OF Ireland’s top international canoeists, Peter Egan, this week, spoke to The Echo about his experience after contracting Covid-19 and the importance of respect-ing the HSE guidelines on social distancing during this period.

The Lucan man, who, last November, captured gold at the ICF World Masters Canoe Marathon Championships in China after having earned bronze in the European equivalent in France the previous July, contracted the virus late last month.

Liffey Decsent Canoes 07

World Masters Canoe Marathon gold medallist Peter Egan from Lucan made it through his Covid-19 ordeal, but warns others may not be so fortunate and that we all have a responsibility to each other in these challenging times

A warrant officer in Tallaght Garda Station for the past 18 years, he was thankfully able to weather the severe effects of Covid after almost a fortnight in self isolation without the need to be hospitalised, but has stressed that so many others have and will not be so lucky.

While he was not officially informed that he had it until just this week, Egan was in little doubt that he had contracted the virus, telling The Echo “I think the fact that it came on me so fast, that it escalated so quickly and I was thrown straight into the deep end, made me think I had it.

“I had been training on the Tuesday [March 24] and I had felt fine, but the following day in work, just after lunchtime, I began to get a headache.

“I thought I might have been a bit dehydrated, that I hadn't drank enough water. I was coming to the end of a four-day shift and I thought I must be just tired.

“But that night, I began to get the sweats and severe aches and pains. All my muscles were just throbbing.

“I informed work the next day and they told me to stay home. I rang my doctor and, having assessed me over the phone, he told me he believed I had it [Covid-19] and so referred me on.

“Later that day I got an appointment for testing in Tallaght Stadium for the next day, although I only got the results back yesterday [Monday, April 13] to say I was positive.

“I spent 12 or so days in self isolation, just trying to get the temperature down.

“Luckily I didn't have much trouble with my breathing because it's when it starts to affect the lungs that you have to take it to the next stage and be hospitalised. My doctor said that my fitness stood to me at that point.

“But people need to know that anyone can get this and it affects people in different ways. Some are not able to cope with the high temperatures and, for some, their breathing is severely affected and it can be very dangerous.

“People say this is a flu. Yes, it's a killer flu that has escalated so many more deaths than the normal flu would. Look at people on the front line, health care workers who have lost their lives trying to save other lives.

“Everyone needs to respect one another. We can't be making to non-essential journeys because one person can infect another ten and they can infect another hundred and so on.

“There are people there on the front line, medical health care workers, the fire and ambulance services and ourselves that have to deal with this.

“People wonder how we can contain this. Just stay at home and stay in that small network of your immediate family.

“I know cabin fever is affecting everyone and it's not easy for those with young kids who just want to get out.

“It's difficult, but hopefully, if we pull together, we'll be able to close this off sooner rather than later” he stressed.

Egan is not hopeful he will be back competing this year, with the Coronavirus outbreak having wreaked havoc with both Canoe Ireland and ICF events overseas.

Yet The Echo 2019 Sports Star of the Year contender is delighted to have won this, a far more important battle and insists we must all play our part in helping to limit the amount of other people who will have to fight it.

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