Health

Steroid misuse in COVID-19 patients can cause life threatening infections

Long-term use of steroids can cause a rise in blood glucose levels, which may trigger bacterial or fungal infections

 
By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 17 May 2021

Experts have warned that irregular and overuse of steroids causes severe infections like pneumonia and mucormycosis. Most of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients die due to the hyper-immune response to the virus.

The response causes inflammation in the lungs and damages other organs which leads to multi-organ failure. Steroids are used to treat COVID-19 patients who develop a severe hyper-immune response.

The World Health Organization says that steroids may be administered to patients whose resting saturation levels are below 94 per cent and whose respiration rate at rest is over 24 per minute.

But taking steroids in the early stage of COVID-19 can affect the efficiency of the immune system. This can lead to further replication of the virus and severe viral pneumonia. COVID-19 patients who got steroid therapy at an early stage had higher mortality than those who didn't.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines, steroids should be administered for only 5-10 days. Cases of mucormycosis or Black fungus infection are increasing in COVID-19 recovered patients who used steroids. Long-term use of steroids can cause a rise in blood glucose levels, which may trigger bacterial or fungal infections.

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