Steroids used in Covid treatmet leading to fungal infections in few patients

The cases of fungal infection emerging now are mostly due to the excessive use of steroids

Hyderabad: Steroids used in the treatment of Covid-19 are causing severe side-effects in a few patients which is leading to fungal infection. The reason is stated to be that those who have recovered from Covid-19 are severely immune-compromised.

So far, 50 patients have reported to corporate and small hospitals in the city with fungal infections. It is found that patients developed the infection in the middle and later stages of recovery.

The use of high-end steroids to combat Covid-19 is considered to be one of the reasons for this. Steroid use is increased in patients who are critically ill to control the cytokine storm in the body. But the steriod use allows opportunistic fungal infections like deadly mucormycosis to enter the body.

This infection is also noted in patients who have undergone liver and kidney transplants, and they are duly cautioned about it. Among Covid-19 recovered patients, fungal infection is found in those suffering from ENT problems, diabetes, kidney problems, sinusitis and dental problems.

Dr Srinivas Kishore Sistla, consultant ENT surgeon and sleep specialist at Star Hospitals, said doctors had seen 10 patients with fungal infection in the last 15 days.

“All of them had recovered from Covid-19. The fungal infections are found in different parts of the body such as eyes, brain and bones. This is worrying as it can also lead to permanent loss of eye sight and damage the organs. Those who have recovered from Covid 19 need to be alert," Dr Sistla said.

A senior doctor on condition of anonymity said, “In order to control the situation, patients in the moderate category were also given steroids. The cases of fungal infection emerging now are mostly due to the excessive use of steroids. The medical fraternity has to check on its use of medicines as the side-effects are harmful.”

The nature of Covid-19 and the speed at which the virus spread has led to the use of different medicines. Dr C. Shekar Singh, senior ENT surgeon, explained, “We are seeing patients now. This means those who had recovered earlier were either missed or minimal numbers reported to clinics.”

Dr Singh said there are two conditions which must be taken into account: The immune compromised state of the patient and the use of medicines for recovery from Covid 19. “Since immunity is compromised, development of disease is inevitable as it was noted in organ transplant cases. If it is due to use of medicines, there has to be a rethink as to how to minimise its use and stabilise the patient,” Dr Singh said.

These aspects are important as fungal infections are not only dangerous but treatment is also expensive. Experts state that re-building of immunity with proper supplementation of protein, vitamins and minerals must be taken up. Guidance from a nutritionist must be sought so that there is proper intake of fruits, vegetables and low-fat proteins. Adequate rest and sound sleep will also allow the body to rejuvenate back stated experts.

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