Avatar universal

Will steroid shot make me more susceptible to COVID 19 and if so, for how long?

I’m a 26 year old male with no pre-existing health conditions other than general anxiety and panic disorder. I take 50 mg of Zoloft daily for that. I recently visited my PCP for some low back pain that I was having that is most likely related to arthritis from an L5-S1 spinal fusion surgery that I had in 2011. My PCP gave me an injection of dexamethasone sodium phosphate to try and help with the inflammation and pain. It seemed to work as the pain has subsided completely, and I only had minor side effects such as body temperature increase and some injection site swelling. Both side effects subsided after about 24 hours. Does this shot make me more susceptible to COVID and other viral/bacterial infections? And if so, for how long?
3 Responses
134578 tn?1614729226
It sounds like the steroid shot was a one-time thing. That would suggest that having done the good it was intended to do for your back, it is now gone from your system.

If you're concerned about interactions of any medication you get and things out there in the world, always ask your doctor. Covid is too new for a lot to be known, but if your concern is interactions with more prosaic risks such as bacteria, ask the doc.
I agree, I'd ask your doctor.  always best!
Avatar universal
I think this is one of the few drugs that proved helpful in the treatment of hospitalized covid patients.  It is true that in general corticosteroids weaken the immune system and can have a deleterious effect on the beneficial organisms that protect you from bacterial and fugal infections, but I think it's unlikely it would make you more susceptible to covid as it's used for patients who have it.  This is an old steroid as well that has effects that are very well known.  They can also increase anxiety, as you're basically injecting adrenaline, but again, most don't have this problem when it's injected where you had your injection.  I wouldn't really worry too much about it, but it might be of some benefit to take steps to work on your immune system any time you use steroids.  This would include taking probiotics and prebiotics and eating well and sleeping well and exercising, etc.  And get vaccinated.  Peace.
20620809 tn?1504362969
I see that this question has floated around the internet.  I found this though which is recent that states it should affect your getting covid. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7454880/  Hope that helps.
It states that there haven't been any studies published on whether it affects the risk of getting Covid, not that it should affect getting Covid. From the intro of the article:

"There is low-quality evidence that a single intra-articular corticosteroid injection may increase the risk of contracting the influenza virus. No study has yet been published that examines whether a corticosteroid injection increases the risk of contracting COVID-19 or alters the clinical course of a subsequent infection. While caution is advised based on this indirect evidence, more studies are needed to determine full correlation of corticosteroid administration and risks of contracting COVID-19."
Yeah, but later in the article it does state that the problem isn't specific to influenza, it's a problem with cortico-steroids.  Any time you use them it is a problem for the immune system in ways this article doesn't even mention, which is the effect on beneficial organisms.  The article also states that chronic pain also can adversely affect the immune system, though probably in a more indirect and more individualized fashion.  It does state that one injection is a lot less of a problem than people who get repeated injections.  As the article states, a pandemic doesn't cause all other problems to stop.  A whole lot of things can weaken the immune system.  That's why we wear masks and socially distance even if we think we have the greatest immune system known to humanity.  There is a popular show, Bill Maher, and he's funny but also often a jerk who talks about things he knows nothing about, but again, he's funny, but he has been on a rant all during the pandemic about how the only people who are dying of covid and need to worry are fat people, and it's true that in the US most deaths and serious disease have been associated with overweight people, but that's probably because it has so adversely affected older people.  But other countries with a whole lot less of an obesity problem have also had tons of problems, so again, because none of us really know at any given moment whether our immune system is in tip top shape or if we're near someone who has covid, we should still be wearing masks and socially distancing until the pandemic goes away, if it ever does.  So for any particular individual, which is my point, even if one injection is a small risk, it is an increased risk but using steroids is always a risk no matter if there's a pandemic or not because it's well known they are good for treating inflammation and bad for you in every other way, so you have to balance the pain and other ways of dealing with it with the shot.  So if you do need to get one, get it, but take precautions, and as I said to the poster, in all seriousness, get vaccinated.  Peace.
Interesting follow-up to this is the recent concern over those with auto-immune disorders possibly not getting enough protection from the vaccines.  A big article in the Washington Post about it yesterday, and use of cortico-steroids was mentioned as a factor in possibly diminishing the benefits.  A large number of people have either autoimmune diseases, or worse, take immune system suppressant drugs for all manner of things, including transplants, HIV, RA, lupus, etc.  This turns out to have been a very good question indeed.
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