Don't take symptoms lightly, #StayHome, urges Dubai-based triathlete with Covid-19


Dubai - 'My advice is to embrace this and spend as much time with your family'

by Anjana Sankar

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Published: Tue 31 Mar 2020, 12:38 AM

Last updated: Tue 31 Mar 2020, 1:23 AM

A Dubai-based triathlete, who is battling Covid-19, has urged residents not to take the symptoms of the virus lightly and to follow all precautionary measures. Shane Manning said he was "somewhat ignorant and arrogant" about the dangers of the pandemic.  

"It is the nastiest thing I have ever experienced. I never thought the virus could take down a healthy, middle-aged man like me, who regularly exercises, eats well and sleeps well," Manning, 42, told Khaleej Times over the phone from his hospital bed.  

The Australian expat and dad of 10-year old triplets described how he went into a "deep dark black hole, and laid there in a ball, feeling cold and shaking and coughing" with three blankets over him.

"Doctors said they were baffled how I was still breathing and functioning because my lungs was completely overrun by this virus and pneumonia that they almost had to put me into ICU a week ago."

Manning tested positive on March 22, and has already spent six days in hospital. "I still have difficulty breathing, and have limited lung capacity. The major symptoms have subsided but I am still infectious," he said, his voice broken with bouts of chesty cough and heavy breathing.
Warning signs
Manning said he developed the first symptoms around mid-March. "Two and a half weeks ago, I had an amazing week. I cycled most mornings, had a big swim around Burj Al Arab. I went to Hatta with my three kids and wife. Then I developed a slight fever and runny nose and the yucky feeling of getting sick."

After coming back from the trip, he felt completely wiped out. "On Monday, I could not get up. I had headache and fever but no coughing."

Manning said though he went to a clinic, he could not be tested for coronavirus because he had no travel history and had not got in contact with anyone who tested positive.

After a few days, he went camping with friends and family. "When I got back home, it really, really hit me. I could not move and lost my appetite. It massively took down my lungs."

He said he went back to the doctor, and both him and his wife tested positive. "But my wife is asymptomatic and is in self-isolation at home."

The first six days in the hospital, Manning said, was the worst part as he had entered the third phase of his infection. "I would lay awake shaking and shivering. At 3.30am when I wake up, my sheets are flooded as I am sweating all night. Now, I am glad I have crossed that. I have an appetite and my infection level has come down."

Manning said doctors and closely monitoring him and doing tests to check his infection level which was really high. He has to test negative three times before he can be discharged.
"People complain about the small inconveniences of having to stay home. But we always, always complain about not getting enough time. So, my advice is to embrace this and spend as much time with your family and be extremely cautious. This virus can get anyone," he said.

Anjana Sankar

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