A COURAGEOUS teenage from Kerry has sent a stark warning to anyone debating whether to wear a face mask in public.
From Monday, anyone using public transport in Ireland will be legally required to wear a mask.
However, if anyone was left in any doubt over whether they should be wearing face coverings, an impassioned plea made by Ian O’Connell on Facebook is likely to settle the debate.
The 18-year-old Irishman suffered serious damage to his neck and spine following a cycling accident in Killarney National Park in August 2017.
It was an accident that left O’Connell fighting for his life on a ventilator.
Sharing a picture of the scar it left him with, the Kerry teen detailed the trauma and difficulties he experienced while being weaned off the breathing machine.
It provides a bleak glimpse of what many with serious cases of Covid-19 have faced.
It should also serve as a warning as to why face coverings are such an essential part of preventing more people from experiencing the same.
“If you don't like wearing a face mask in public, trust me you will not like the ventilator,” he wrote.
“I remember waking at night gasping for air or that beeping noise when my oxygen levels were dropping.”
“I have gone through it all, not able to drink because the liquid would go into my lungs.”
“Weaning off the ventilator was the most horrible thing that I have ever gone through in my life,” he added.
“Turning off the ventilator for a few seconds trying to build up my time Breathing myself ! I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.”
He continued: “So for everyone that has had to go through the process of being on a ventilator and for everyone that is unfortunately on a ventilator while you are reading this. Do it for them. Be smart, follow guidelines and be Greatful.
“This virus will pass but only if we work together.”