Black Fungus or Mucormycosis: Symptoms & Risk

Dr. Raman Abrol, a senior ENT specialist at Abrol ENT institute and research center, is here to talk and address the threat of black fungus or mucormycosis, which is also related to fast-spreading coronavirus. 

What is black fungus? Who is at risk? 

Firstly he discussed the causes of the coronavirus and black fungus. According to the knowledge and the experiments conducted, this is also called Mucormycosis, is not a new thing; this has infected people before the pandemic.  This disease has affected old-aged and negligent diabetic people in the past. So it is not something new; it has been affected a few people before. It had been cured in the past, but this situation is like an explosion of this disease, It is multifactorial; research has shown that it is still affecting people with diabetes. 95% of the cases of black fungus are diabetic. 

People who tested positive for coronavirus are getting black fungus as the virus is sensitizing them to black fungus. 

High dosage of steroids: 

According to Dr. Raman Abrol, the virus is making the nose susceptible to black fungus.  The second reason is the high dosage of steroids, Tocilizumab, Remdesivir, which are immunity modulators used for treatment. All these things are immunity suppressors.   Along with suppressing immunity, they also raise blood sugar levels in the body. And this raise blood sugar level is why people are getting infected with this. This other factor that is currently under discussion is the consumption of Zinc tablets. It is assumed (no proof yet) that the consumption of zinc tablets can be a potential reason for it. 

What are the signs and symptoms of black fungus? 

The symptoms of black fungus start showing 10-15 days after discharge from hospitals or ICUs. The signs are blackening of the face, the palette, and some problems in the eyes like itching, redness, and bulging of the eye, the nose feels dry, nose bleed and pain in the nose, and severe headache. It is essential to rush the patient to a hospital at the earliest. This problem is not manageable by the small clinics as they have fewer resources to diagnose or treat, as the infected patient needs ICU care, surgeries, multi-disciplinary doctors, and intensive care. The people infected by black fungus are very sick, and the mortality rate is very high (about 50-60%). 

What are the causes of this fungal infection?  

The primary cause for the second wave of coronavirus is the lack of vaccination due to all the myths and false information about the vaccine shots. To prevent this further, Dr. Abrol pushes everyone to get vaccinated, control one’s blood sugar level, follow all the rules and regulations, avoid forming groups or gatherings and continue the Covid-appropriate behavior. 

What is the treatment for black fungus? 

Black fungus is a challenging problem to tackle.  It disfigures the patient’s face as the infected part has to be removed surgically. In some cases, half the face and eyes have to be removed, and then the face is reconstructed, making it a dreadful experience. The treatment of this disease is costly because even after the surgery, the patient must undergo anti-fungal therapy.  

How can you prevent yourself from this fungal infection? 

Coming to the prevention of black fungus, Dr. Abrol said that, 

  1. Get vaccinated to stay safe. 
  2. Follow covid-appropriate behavior 
  3. Avoid crowded places, do not gather in small groups, maintain social distancing. 
  4. If you feel feverish, do not eat medicines on your own, these drugs are nothing but steroids, and steroids are an open invitation for this infection.
  5. Maintain your sugar level, and do not take unprescribed medicines. 

The only time one should consume steroids is when there is a saturation dip. When your fever is at a saturation point, do not take steroids as it increases the chances of getting infected and affects the sugar levels. 

These are all these things to keep in mind. As soon as you see any sign or symptom of this disease, i.e., red or itchy eyes, dry nose, nosebleed, severe headache, black spots on the face, or even loose teeth, you should consult a covid specialist at your earliest. Get a CT scan,  MRI, or a nose swab test done. 

So to prevent black fungus, religiously follow the advice given by Dr. Abrol. 

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