Boys with CF live with Covid-19 hygiene measures all of their lives, says father

A father whose three sons have cystic fibrosis has spoken about how, over the years, his family has observed the kinds of measures now widespread in the general population.

Boys with CF live with Covid-19 hygiene measures all of their lives, says father

A father whose three sons have cystic fibrosis has spoken about how, over the years, his family has observed the kinds of measures now widespread in the general population.

Tim O’Donoghue said that by observing hygiene and social distancing and by everyone doing their bit “we can overcome”.

The concept of cross-infection had long been part of life for him and his wife, Colette, since their three boys — aged 17, 14, and ten — were each born with cystic fibrosis.

“It is something that we are aware of every year and prepare for the winter each year by getting the flu vaccine and observing a lot of the recommendations widespread now in the public domain,” he said.

The couple are incredibly proud of their three boys for the strength they show each day, he said.

“We all get the flu vaccine and hope that it will provide a level of protection that will see us through to the spring/summer time. We ritually do all the things that are now being advised to everyone such as hand hygiene, being mindful of bacteria, social distancing, and avoiding possible contact with others who may have cold or flu symptoms in your proximity. We do this while at the same time trying not to restrict how we live,” he said.

Avoiding unhealthy situations is a reality for his family all the time. Washing hands and avoiding situations that would make you sick are always priorities.

“We would be very, very conscious and would have brought the boys up from birth to the present day with awareness of this,” he said.

The key thing is to stay healthy and, hopefully, a medical answer will arrive in the form of a vaccine, he said of the pandemic.

He urged people “not to catastrophise” what is happening in front of them, but to “focus on what you can do” and to observe simple measures such as avoiding contact: “It’s difficult because we are very sociable people,” he said.

As chief executive of Kerry Diocesan Youth Service (KDYS), which has five centres in Kerry catering to 4,000 young people, with clubs and centres, education and other facilities, Mr O’Donoghue also warned that some young people may feel they are exempt — but they could transmit it: “Everybody can be categorised as a ‘vulnerable group’. Because if you do get an infection, you don’t know how your body is going to react to it.”

Categorising people risks taking away their humanity, he said in interviews on Radio Kerry and with the Irish Examiner: “There is no acceptable loss in this situation. It doesn’t matter the age of a person or their health condition, we are all people in communities and this challenge is putting it up to us to see what kind of people we are, and what kind of society we want to live in.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Let Me Tell You

Let Me Tell You is a new bespoke podcast series from 

Logo IE

Hosts Daniel McConnell and Paul Hosford take a look back at some of the most dramatic moments in recent Irish political history from the unique perspective of one of the key players involved.

Bespoke political podcast series from

Logo IE