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Cytokine storm is one of the complications that can be experienced by patients with COVID-19. This condition needs to be watched out for and needs to be treated intensively. If left untreated, cytokine storms can cause organ failure and even death
Cytokines are one of the proteins that play a role in the immune system. Under normal conditions, cytokines help the immune system coordinate well against bacteria or viruses that cause infection.
However, if produced in excess, cytokines can actually cause damage in the body. This is what is known as a cytokine storm.
Cause Cytokine Storm
A cytokine storm occurs when the body releases too many cytokines into the blood in a very fast period of time. This condition causes immune cells to attack he althy body tissues and cells, causing inflammation. This condition is known by examination of D-dimer and CRP in patients with COVID-19.
Not infrequently the inflammation makes the organs in the body become damaged or fail to function. This is what makes cytokine storms need to be watched out for, because they can cause death.
In people with COVID-19, a cytokine storm attacks lung tissue and blood vessels. Alveoli or small air sacs in the lungs will be filled with fluid, making it impossible for oxygen exchange to occur.That is why people with COVID-19 often experience shortness of breath.
Cytokine Storm Symptoms in Patients with COVID-19
The majority of COVID-19 sufferers who experience cytokine storms experience fever and shortness of breath and require a breathing stone device or a ventilator. This condition usually occurs about 6–7 days after the symptoms of COVID-19 appear.
In addition to fever and shortness of breath, cytokine storms also cause various symptoms, such as:
- Coldness or chills
- Swelling in the legs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle and joint pain
- Skin rash
- Fast breath
- Difficult to control movement
- Confusion and hallucinations
- Very low blood pressure
- Blood clot
Cytokine Storm Handling
Covid-19 patients experiencing cytokine storms require treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU). Some of the treatment steps that the doctor will take include:
- Vital signs monitoring, including blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and body temperature, intensively
- Installation of the ventilator machine
- Infusion of fluids
- Electrolyte level monitoring
- Dialysis (hemodialysis)
- The administration of the drug anakinra or tocilizumab (actemra) to inhibit cytokine activity
However, further research is still needed to determine the appropriate treatment for COVID-19 sufferers who experience cytokine storms.
In people with COVID-19, cytokine storms can cause life-threatening organ damage. In order to avoid this serious condition, you are advised to always comply with he alth protocols anytime and anywhere.
If you or a family member experiences COVID-19 symptoms, such as cough, fever, runny nose, weakness, shortness of breath, anosmia, or indigestion, immediately self-isolate and call the COVID-19 hotline at 119 Ext. 9 to get further directions.