What is a Cytokine Storm? And why you need to know.

I have to share this now, before I bite my tongue in two.
Studies are showing those dying of COVID-19, it's often their own immune system that is killing them. Picture a herd of mammoth donkeys, running you down for a bag of oats. That's pretty much how a cytokine storm works. Only, it's not cute. Or funny. And it doesn't listen when you say "Whoa!!!"
"...a new study indicates that Covid-19 triggers in some people something called a cytokine storm, where one’s own immune system goes berserk. This “virus-activated” immune response can be deadly, causing severe respiratory distress and the subsequent shutdown of multiple organs."
The articles below say doctors are struggling with giving immune suppressants to patients who are fighting a virus, when they need their immune system to work to kill the virus, but not kill the patient. Suppressing the immune system can seem counter intuitive.
PS. Your autoimmune warrior friends have been dealing with excessive immune responses for years....they've been learning how to modulate the immune system, rather than suppress it, or stimulate it...so it can fight an underlying infection without killing them in the process...
The worst part? These autoimmune disease warriors can't give advice now, or they'll be thrown in FB jail, or worse...so they're forced to sit quietly by and bite their tongues til they're bloody. 
These articles also state that many older generation DOCTORS are NOT aware of the cytokine storm response. (As a mom who has had to explain her child's rare disease and it's recommended treatment protocol to doctors who were unaware, please, share this with your MD friends so they will be prepared and have the tools and knowledge they need to save lives! Print these articles and take them with you if you or a loved one are sick. You are your own best advocate. A good doctor will thank you for doing your own research and being an educated patient!!)
PS. While you're here, you might want to take a few minutes to read the blog of a not-a-doctor-just-a-mom. We could all use some cute donkeys and kitties right now. ;)
"Critically important studies emerging from China suggest that for many patients who die of Covid-19, it may be their own immune system, rather than the virus itself, that deals the fatal blow. This is called a cytokine storm. During a cytokine storm, an excessive immune response ravages healthy lung tissue, leading to acute respiratory distress and multi-organ failure. Untreated, cytokine storm syndrome is usually fatal. Patients in other studies who developed cytokine storm syndrome after viral triggers often ironically possessed subtle genetic immune defects resulting in the uncontrolled immune response." (1)
"Cytokine storm leads to elevated circulating inflammatory cytokines levels. It is the immune system’s overreaction to severe Covid-19." --(2)
"While novel and repurposed anti-viral therapies are being explored to treat Covid-19, those individuals with cytokine storm syndrome also require treatment of the overly active immune response. In these situations, an overactive immune response can be deadly. All Covid-19 patients sick enough for hospitalization should be given a cheap, quick, and readily available serum ferritin blood test. Indeed, elevated serum ferritin values have recently been reported in Chinese hospitalized patients with Covid-19. This is a good first screening tool for the possibility of a cytokine storm syndrome in sick patients with high fevers."
"The question then remains how best to treat a cytokine storm syndrome once it is identified. The treating physician is often placed between a rock and a hard place. Corticosteroids can be powerfully broad immunosuppressive agents, and they are inexpensive and readily available throughout the world. However, it can be frightening for a physician to treat a severely ill, infected individual with such powerful and wide-ranging immune suppression. We already have medicines for treating cytokine storm syndrome triggered by viruses
With the development of biologic therapies for a variety of rheumatic, oncologic, and other conditions, novel approaches to treating the immune response are now available. These highly targeted medicines go after one or a few inflammatory molecules, including cytokines, without the general immune suppression effected by corticosteroids and other relatively non-selective immune suppressants. Recently, a number of specific anti-cytokine approaches have proven effective in treating a variety of cytokine storm syndromes, including those triggered by viruses. These include drugs targeting interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-6, IL-18, and interferon-gamma. ." (1)
EDITED TO ADD: The World Health Organization's current recommendations indicate that steroids are contraindicated for COVID-19. Probably because suppressing the immune system while trying to fight a virus doesn't make sense.
Immune Homeostasis is ideal. Hmmmm, what are some things that promote immune homeostasis? 
(1) https://www.vox.com/2020/3/12/21176783/coronavirus-covid-19-deaths-china-treatment-cytokine-storm-syndrome
(2) https://www.uab.edu/news/research/item/11176-covid-19-do-not-forget-the-host-in-treating-this-disease

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