The World Health Organization, on Wednesday (2nd September, 2020), issued new treatment guidelines, strongly recommending steroids to treat COVID-19 patients, who are critically ill but at the same time, it recommended to avoid using steroids for patients with mild disease.
“A strong recommendation for steroids- systemic steroids, either taken orally or through IV in patients with severe and critical COVID,” said Dr Janet Diaz, Head of Clinical Care for WHO.
She also added that the reason behind such recommendation is because in many cases they found evidence that if given corticosteroids to the patients, it shows 87 fewer deaths per 1000 patients. Adding to it Nyka Alexander, WHO spokesperson said that special care should be taken in administrating the steroid. Patients with mild disease or not so critical condition, should be avoided in prescribing corticosteroids at any cost as it may create serious side effects to the patient in the later stages.
One of the many symptoms of COVID-19 is difficulty in breathing and thus Corticosteroids play a crucial role in dealing with it. Corticosteroids are a class of steroid that lowers inflammation in the body. They also reduce immune system activity. But because corticosteroids ease swelling, itching, redness, and allergic reactions, doctors often prescribe them to help treat diseases that include asthma.
Last June, Oxford University researchers discovered that dexamethasone ( a type of corticosteroids) improved survival rates in many critical patients and hence they hope that other inexpensive and widely available steroids like dexamethasone, hydrocortisone and methylprednisolone may benefit the critically ill patients in surviving against the COVID-19 disease.
Steroids carry a lot of side effects with it such as high blood pressure, glaucoma, insomnia, weight gain etc. and hence, doctors must be cautious upon the fact that they cannot use such inexpensive steroids in case of a patient with mild symptoms as it may create havoc to him/her instead of helping.
Till now there has been a total number of 26 million positive cases around the world with almost 863000 deaths and 17.3 million recoveries. America, Brazil and India are the top three nations with the maximum number of COVID cases.