While the COVID-19 cases rapidly increasing in India, the government and health experts are gearing for the 3rd wave of Corona Virus with the 2nd wave already going on. The mutated B-1617 Variant of the Corona Virus identified in India has been already declared as a Variant of concern for the world by WHO.
With the second COVID-19 wave ravaging India, doctors are now reporting a rash of cases involving a rare infection- called Black Fungus also dubbed as Mucormycosis.
To know more about black fungus and the different methods to tackle it. Continue reading till the end…
What Is Black Fungus?
The Black Fungus also named Mucormycosis, is a fungal infection mainly targeting patients with chronic health problems or the ones who take medicines daily, which reduces the immunity and the system’s ability to fight environmental pathogens.
Though the fungus infection is very rare, it is very deadly with a mortality rate of 50%. The fungus invades the sinus and makes its way into the interorbital and intracranial regions and damages the lungs. And if left untreated proves to be very dangerous. Thus experiencing the Symptoms of black fungus one must visit an experienced doctor.
The Health Minister Of India Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that “Awareness and Early diagnosis can help curb the spread of the deadly Fungal Infection”.
How Black Fungus Is Caused?
The fungal infection is caused by a group of molds called micromycetes. These molds live throughout the environment. You can suffer from this disease due to exposure to fungus spores in the air. The fungus invades the sinus and makes its way into the interorbital and intracranial regions and damages the lungs.
Doctors and experts believe mucormycosis may be being triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill Covid patients. These steroids reduce the inflammation in the lungs in Covid-19 and help to prevent some of the damage that could be caused due to the over-production of antibodies by the body against Coronavirus.
But this, in turn, reduces the immunity of the body against environmental fungus. And thus the drop of immunity is giving the black fungus/Mucormycosis an optimum surrounding to be triggered.
Who All Are At Most Risk Of Getting Infected By Mucormycosis?
Though every Covid Patient is susceptible to black fungus due to the steroids which turned out to be ” The Necessary Evils”. They are a life-saving treatment for Covid patients and make them vulnerable to Blank Fungus.
Though the persons at the highest risk are those with diabetes or hypertension, the ones having a medical history, and the pupils taking tablets daily are neck to neck in the risk index.
Dr. Nair who works in three hospitals of Mumbai, one of the most severely affected cities by the second wave, says that most of the patients infected with Black Fungus or Mucormycosis were diabetic or the ones having medical history.
“Diabetes lowers the body’s immune defense system, Coronavirus exacerbates it, and then steroids which help fight Covid-19 adds fuel to fire”, added Dr. Nair.
Covid-19 Vaccine And Black Fungus Infection?
Though there is no relation between mucormycosis and vaccination against Covid-19. But if one has taken a vaccination shot then there is a possibility that he might have a mild Covid infection. And it doesn’t require any steroids. So he/she is unlikely to get infected by black fungus. If he/she gets infected by severe Covid-19 in the near future that that might make her/him susceptible to mucormycosis.
Symptoms Of Black Fungus?
Patients suffering from the Mucormycosis typically have the following symptoms
- Bleedy And Stuffy Nose.
- Swollen Red Eyes.
- Facial Pain And Deformity.
- Black Patches On Skin Around Nose.
- Tooth Ache And Loosening Of Teeth.
- Irritation In Eyes.
- Blurred Vision With The Degree Of Blurness Increasing as time passes.
Doctors say that most of the patients visit them late when they are already losing their vision, and then doctors have to surgically remove the patient’s eye to stop the fungal infection from spreading more. Therefore, the experts and doctors suggest not overlooking the fungal infection symptoms and visiting a doctor before the infection becomes fatal.
How To Avoid Fungal Infection/Mucormycosis After Covid?
Following are the ways to stall the possibility of the fungal infection
Wearing A Mask
The most effective way to prevent black fungus/mucormycosis is by wearing a mask while venturing out, especially in open areas like gardens, dusty areas, or areas where you might come across garbage dumps.
Do Not Miss Warning Signs And Symptoms
Most of the Doctors say the patients arrive late when they are already on the verge of losing their vision of both eyes. And then the doctors have to surgically remove the eye to contain the spread of black fungus stopping it from reaching the brain.
Not To Waste Crucial Time To Initiate treatment For Mucormycosis
When you experience the slightest of the above symptoms, don’t hesitate in seeking aggressive investigations as appropriate for detecting fungal etiology.
At the same time, restrain yourself from considering all blocked noses as cases of bacterial sinusitis, especially in the cases of immunosuppression or Covid patients on immunomodulators.
Control Blood Glucose Level
People with diabetes, those on steroids and humidified oxygen for a long time, and Covid-19 patients with medical history are at most risk. Thus. diabetic patients are advised to keep a timely check and control his/her blood glucose level.
Right Dose And Duration Of Steroids
In one of his recent interviews with the BBC, Dr. Rahul Baxi, a Mumbai-based diabetologist, says, One of the most effective ways to contain the Blank Fungus is to make sure that the Covid-19 Patients both in treatment and after recovery were being administered the right dose and duration of steroids. He added, “Doctors should take care of the sugar levels after the patients are discharged”.
Use Clean, Sterile Water For Humidifiers During Oxygen Therapy
Clean and sterile water for humidifiers during oxygen therapy of Covid-19 patients cancels the growth of environmental fungus.
The most effective way to prevent black fungus is to make yourself immune against coronavirus by following the pandemic protocols. Wear Mask…follow social distancing and keep washing your hands.