What is a steroid shot really?

band aid

By: Michelle Watson

I’ve been meaning to write about my unfortunate sickness that I’ve had for the past two weeks. Ever since moving into the dorm rooms of LSU it seems like I have been permanently sick. Being an out of state student, it always seems like I get sick every fall semester that I come back to Louisiana. If it’s not allergies, it’s a cold, and if it’s not a cold, then it’s a virus. With the recent temperature drop, students all over campus are running to the health center to get better only to find out that they’re aren’t nearly enough physicians to go around.

I had an appointment this Wednesday. Surprisingly it wasn’t too difficult to get the appointment. I checked myself in and sat in the waiting room. There were at least 10 other students waiting for their name to be called. Some students had face masks, while others were on crutches. I sat there thinking, all I wanted was to be able to fall asleep at night and breathe out of both nostrils. I had developed a violent cough that only made itself present when I was about to go to sleep, keeping me up for hours and making my eyes tear up. I was miserable.

After sitting for about 1o minutes, my name was called. I was taken to another room where the nurse did her usual: taking my blood pressure, taking my weight, and taking my resting heart rate. After that, she walked out and told me someone else would be in with me shortly.

I never really knew what kind of “care” students were getting at the student health center. Did we have real doctors or just nurses? Either way, another lady came in about 5 minutes later and introduced herself saying she was a nurse practitioner – not a doctor.

She asked me what my symptoms were and I told her. I was consistently sneezing throughout the day, dry coughing at night, and had developed some congestion in my nose. In addition I had some acute back pain. I really didn’t know what was wrong with me. Coming from a family that has an abundance of allergy issues, I knew that whatever was happening to me was not allergies. The nurse practitioner listened to my symptoms , pulled out a stethoscope and told me to try and breathe.

After assessing me and looking at my file she told me that I most likely had a virus. (I’ve learned enough about biology to know that if you have a virus you just have to let it “run it’s course” and there’s really nothing they [the doctor] can do to make you feel better.) I thought that she was just going to turn me away but that’s not what happened. Even though I had a virus she told me, she could help alleviate my symptoms to help me get more rest. I thought GREAT! I’ll be getting some pills or something. I was actually getting a shot.

I’m one of those people who hates shots with a passion. I vividly remember going to the doctor as a little girl and the doctor having to chase me around the examination room just to hold me down and give me a shot. The fact that I had to get a shot at age 20, and was still scared showed me just how much I did not like them. After coming to my senses, I realized I was willing to do whatever to get better. The nurse informed me I was getting a steroid shot. I wondered…a steroid shot? What does that do? Is is the same shot that athletes use illegally? I had to figure it out.

When I got back to my dorm room I realized that I had gotten a type of steroid shot called a  cortisone shot. I’ve heard of those before, my mom had to get one when she tore her meniscus in her knee.  (Why didn’t the nurse just say that instead of steroid?) According to about health.com a cortisone shot is supposed to alleviate any type of inflammation in the body. While I was at the health center I remember the nurse telling me my membranes were swollen. Exhausted from the whole day, I sat on my bed and feel asleep.

Waking up the next morning, I realized that I did not have a violent coughing episode and that I had fallen asleep perfectly. I still had liquid in my nose and throat that I needed to drain by taking sudafed, but overall I felt better. After looking up some more about the shot, my beliefs of this shot being a illegal substance used by athletes was completely negated. It turns out, cortisone is a type of steroid, and there are many other types of steroids, specifically three types, anabolic, androgenic, and cortico.

With that being said, it has been two days and I am feeling great after having this “steroid shot.” I am happy to say that it was not the illegal version of steroids.

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2 thoughts on “What is a steroid shot really?

  1. I think they might all be the same. However I do think that there are different strengths of the shot. For example, there are spinal cortisone shots and I don’t think they could possibly be the same strength as the one they gave me for my viral symptoms!

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