Athlete Journal: Andrew Read, Entry 41 – I’m An Ironman

Ironman Cancellation Coronavirus: What Is It?

The Ironman Cancellation Coronavirus (ICC) is a viral infection that affects the body’s immune system. The virus causes severe fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea within days after exposure. Some people experience other symptoms such as muscle pain or weakness; however these are not always present. The most common symptom is fever which lasts from 38F to 104F (4C).

The virus spreads through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated water sources. There have been no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission.

However, it is possible that some people may contract the virus if they come into close contact with someone who has the illness.

Infected individuals develop a high fever and then go into shock which leads to death within 4 weeks of onset. A person becomes contagious after showing symptoms but before their temperature reaches 100F (38C).

Athletes and exercisers are at greatest risk of contracting the virus because they tend to spend longer periods of time exercising.

How Does It Affect My Body?

Symptoms begin suddenly and can last up to several days. Symptoms include:

Fatigue – The first signs of the illness occur between day 1 and 3, when your muscles feel like jelly and you become very tired.

Headache – This headache usually occurs around day 2 and can last up to 7 days.

Nausea and Vomiting – You may feel sick to your stomach. This will typically begin between day 2 and 7.

You may vomit bile or have diarrhea.

Diarrhea and Muscle Pain – Between 1 and 3 days after the start of your fatigue, you may experience diarrhea. This can be watery at first but becomes bloodier a few days later.

Athlete Journal: Andrew Read, Entry 41 - I'm An Ironman - from our website

Muscle pain can also occur in the evenings, typically with exercise.

Flushed Face – After feeling fatigued you may notice your face has become red and warm, similar to a mild sunburn. You may also break out into a sweat and feel hot.

This typically occurs on days 3-7, however it may occur later than this.

Headache (Day 7+) – After around 6 days you may experience a dull headache.

How Is It Treated?

The virus cannot be cured and most people experience fatigue or other symptoms for more than a week. However, some people experience a mild form of the virus. If this is the case, you may notice that your symptoms improve around day 5-6. You should seek medical attention if you experience the following:

Fever over 102F (39C) or does not go down after 3 days of taking Tylenol (acetaminophen).

Difficulty breathing.

Bruising or bleeding easily (e.g nosebleeds).

Increase in headaches or aching bones and muscles.

How Can I Prevent Infection?

The virus is most commonly spread through direct contact with infected animals or their bodily fluids. You are also at risk of catching the virus from contaminated drinking water. There are currently no vaccines available to prevent infection so you should take the usual precautions when travelling to a developing country. This includes boiling drinking water and wearing protective clothing such as gloves when handling animals or their bodily fluids.

How Long Before A Cure Is Developed?

Due to the fact this is a new virus there are currently no vaccines available. Once infected, symptoms typically last for more than a week. A vaccine may be developed within the year however it may take much longer before a vaccine is widely available. Be careful when travelling to developing countries as this virus is not yet known to occur in any other animals.


What Happens To The Body During Infection?

The virus attacks the immune system causing it to attack the body’s own organs. This causes the victim to experience a high fever, and extreme fatigue. Due to this reason, infected are not considered to be contagious and will not experience any other symptoms.

If not treated they will go into shock and die after around four weeks.

What Are The Common Symptoms Of Early Infection?

The first stage of infection typically lasts between 1 – 3 days.

Athlete Journal: Andrew Read, Entry 41 - I'm An Ironman - gym fit workout

Fatigue, Headache and Muscle Pain (Most commonly in the back) – You become very tired and find it hard to move around. Your muscles feel weak and heavy, similar to how they feel in the morning.

You also develop a dull headache which becomes noticeable when you wake up.

This is typically followed by a high fever, which can be as high as 102F (39C). After around 3 days your body’s immune system fights off the virus and your fever reduces.

The virus has infected white blood cells in your body which are used to attack foreign organisms. When these cells produce more of a certain type of protein, it causes your immune system to attack the body’s own organs.

After around a week your immune system is weak enough for the virus to begin attacking your organs.

Most of the initial symptoms are caused by your body’s immune system rather than direct infection, hence why people with very weak immune systems do not experience the same symptoms. Otherwise, infected people would show similar symptoms.

How Does This Affect The Body?

The virus directly attacks and infects white blood cells, which are a type of blood cell used to fight off infections in the body.

Sources & references used in this article:

From bar bet to fitness craze for weekend warriors: A genealogical analysis of the Ironman® triathlon by W Bridel – Leisure/Loisir, 2015 – Taylor & Francis

Finish… whatever it takes’ considering pain and pleasure in the ironman triathlon: A socio-cultural analysis by WF Bridel – Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Queen’s University …, 2010 – Citeseer

Finish… Whatever it Takes” Exploring Pain and Pleasure in the Ironman Triathlon: A Socio-Cultural Analysis by WF Bridel – 2010 –

The masters athlete: Understanding the role of sport and exercise in optimizing aging by J Baker, S Horton, P Weir – 2009 –

Being mentally tough in triathlon-is there a need for mental training services in Ironman? by F Sturgess – 2019 –

Exploring Adversity And The Potential For Growth Among Female Ironman Competitors by EJ Johnson – 2017 –