Black fungus also known as Mucormycosis in medical terms is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. This rare fungal infection is caused by a fungus named mucor, which is found on wet surfaces. This black fungus is spreading now among COVID-19 survivors, actually it is aggressive in patients whose immune systems are weakened by other infections or the covid survivors whose immune system may be weak or in a state still not completely recovered.
Black fungus often affects the sinuses, lungs, skin, and brain. . It causes blindness or serious illness and even death in some cases. The infection can happen to anyone at any age. Most people will come into contact with the fungus by inhaling the mold spores or come into contact with them in things like soil, rotting produce or bread, or compost piles. Though it is found in all these it wouldn’t cause any infection or it is of less virulence before covid. This is not a new disease, but the affected number is high among COVID-19 patients in India because of the usage of excessive steroids. These steroids elevates sugar levels and some medicines suppress the immunity of the patients, this is the reason of its raising number among the covid patients.
This may also affect people with health conditions such as Diabetes, organ transplant, cancer, Long-term steroid use, Injected drug use, High levels of iron in your body (hemochromatosis), Bad health from poor nutrition, It’s also more likely if you have a skin injury like a burn, cut, or wound.
There are many symptoms shown by the body when it is affected by black fungus according to the part of the body it is affected such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling on one side of your face
- Sinus congestion
- Black lesions on the bridge of your nose or the inside of your mouth
- Belly pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastro intestinal bleeding
- Blood in your stool
The infection can also spread to other parts of your body through your blood. This is called disseminated mucormycosis.
This infection can be treated via intravenous (IV) medication or through surgery. A patient infected by Black Fungus generally needs a type of injection for 21 days.
When a patient is on oxygen support when affected by covid, it should be ensured that water does not leak from the humidifier to prevent the growth of the fungus. And also the usage of steroids which makes the immune system to get weak.
If you’re diagnosed with mucormycosis, you should start treatment as soon as possible with prescription antifungal medications. These medicines stop the growth of the fungus, destroy it, and bring the infection under control.
Mucormycosis can be deadly without proper treatment and early diagnosis. It may also result in
- Blood clots or blocked vessels
- Nerve damage
How to be cautious:
Monitor blood glucose level post-COVID-19 discharge as it is easily prone to affect diabetic patients.
Use steroid judiciously – whenever and wherever it is essentially necessary.
Use antibiotics or antifungals in correct dose and correct timing
Use clean, sterile water for humidifiers during oxygen therapy
Stay away from areas with a lot of dust, like construction sites, gardening or yard work or use good quality face masks if you are exposed to dust.
Avoid infected water protect your skin with shoes, gloves, long pants, and long sleeves.
Do not hesitate or delay to take treatments if you have warning signs and symptoms.
Make sure to take your medications as directed.