Radio host Jackie O is stepping away from her long-running breakfast show with co-host Kyle Sandilands in order to recover from health issues months after contracting Covid-19.
While presenting the Kyle & Jackie O Show on KIIS FM on Monday, Jackie O, real name Jackie Henderson, said she had been struggling to recover after she contracted Covid-19 earlier this year, and that she had received medical advice to stop working in order to address an enduring cough and fatigue.
“I’ve been not very well ever since I’ve had Covid, I’ve been struggling with this fatigue,” Henderson said.
“Ever since picking up that virus, I’ve been to the doctor several times, and he said because I’ve been pushing myself every day, after the show, all I’ve been doing is sleeping, and I’m not getting better,” she added.
“I just have to take some time off, so I’m ending the show today. As in now … you know how much this show means to me; you know how much I push through everything, and I would not be doing this unless I absolutely had to.
“Without going into detail, I’m fine. I’m not dying,” she said, adding that her doctor had said “if I keep doing this, it is going to get much worse and I’ve taken his advice. I rarely take doctors’ advice, I’m usually like, ‘nah, it’ll be fine’.”
The World Health Organization defines post-Covid or long Covid as occurring in people still experiencing symptoms three months after their initial Covid-19 infection. While long Covid is still being studied, symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, gastrointestinal problems, headaches and what is known as “brain fog”.
Estimates of those with Covid who will develop long Covid range from 5% to 30%.
Henderson first revealed on air in February that she had contracted Covid.
In a statement, ARN, the parent company of KIISFM, said: “Regular listeners of the Kyle & Jackie O show will know that Jackie has been struggling with fatigue and illness since having Covid, so on her doctor’s advice she is taking a couple of weeks off to rest and properly recover. Jackie will be back on board as soon as she’s feeling better.”
Brittany Hockley, a weekend presenter on KIIS FM, will be filling in for Henderson while she recovers.
Sandilands and Henderson have presented a radio show together for nearly 20 years. The Kyle & Jackie O Show is the highest-rating breakfast radio show in Sydney.