Black Fungus could be the next big thing, the bomb that’s ticking but we’re not too sure. So stay calm but don’t let your guard down! It is a fungal infection recently provoked by the novel coronavirus with a potential to turn fatal if left untreated/undiagnosed early on.
RARE BUT SERIOUS!
The outcome of the ailment can be as intimidating & irreplaceable as losing an eye or the upper jaw. Though it has its footprints globally, currently cases are notching up in India more than elsewhere. Could be due to the fact that covid cases are peaking at a record pace here & the ‘black fungus’ comes hand in glove with it.
WHAT IS BLACK FUNGUS?
Colloquially Black Fungus, the designated name is “Mucormycosis” while “mucormycete” is the responsible fungus. These are a group of molds (moulds) which breed in our surroundings. They grow on any organic matter like wet soil, polluted water, clothing or even on surfaces of walls, floors & ceilings of buildings suffused with moisture.
WAYS OF CONTRACTION-
The disease can be acquired in two ways:
- By inhaling the spores from air;
- Or the fungal spores ( reproductive fungi cells) may enter the bloodstream through skin via any skin injury like cuts, burns, bruises etc.
WHO IS PRONE?
Though nothing novel, ‘Black Fungus’ is lately hitting upon covid-19 patients especially. Symptoms are visible 3-12 days post-recovery or even during the recovery period.
Categories of people vulnerable to ‘Black fungus’ other than covid-afflicted ones are those who have been in ICUs/hospital for long, diabetics or patients on steroids, cancer patients, patients just up from a transplant/surgery or even asthmatic patients to some extent. Grossly, people with compromised or suppressed immunities.
SYMPTOMS OF ‘BLACK FUNGUS’ DISEASE-
Signs could be pain and redness around eyes, headache, cough, fever, congestion & other respiratory problems, blood vomit, pain in jaws/cheeks, teeth loosening/or even loss of teeth, vision problems, skin abrasion, ulcers/blisters turning black especially on the bridge of the nose etc.. The symptom will always relate to the lungs or to the sinus and brain.
DIAGNOSIS OF ‘BLACK FUNGUS’ DISEASE-
An early diagnosis is a crucial determinant of the body’s capability to fight the condition. Keep an eye on the symptoms and if indicated, get tested. Depending upon the site of the infection, ways to test are:
- testing of respiratory fluid
- biopsy of affected tissue
- CT Scan of lungs or sinus
DOS & DON’TS-
- Avoid direct contact with soil, unhygienic surfaces, dirty water where there’s a chance for fungi to grow. Construction sites are an example.
- Cover yourself all over in such areas. Mask up ( avoid wet & dirty masks), sanitize, use cleaners with vinegar.
- Scrub yourself clean while bathing.
- Keep in check the blood sugar levels.
- Keep an eye on warning signs. Don’t miss them and if present, investigate thoroughly. Doctors say infections turned bad mostly for patients who arrived late. Then, surgery became imminent.
But not all nasal discharge, for example are to be confused for mucormycosis symptoms. Look for other underlying conditions. Don’t panic.
- Don’t use unsterile/contaminated water for humidifiers to administer oxygen to covid-19 patients. However, the importance of this is still debated but at least, the humidifiers shouldn’t be leaky to the least.
- Desist overuse of steroids in dosage and duration-nothing more than actually required.
- Stay away from rumours & tips like those of using cow-dung to ward off coronavirus as it contains fungi which may easily enter your body. A passenger flying from India to the States was recently caught with cow-dung cakes!
The body system is hydrated with saline first and then anti-fungal therapy begins. Injections are given for a period of 2-3 to as many as 6 weeks depending on the weight of the patient & severity of the infection. A costly disease to contract- its injections come with a price tag of Rs 20,000/- or more for a single day! (figures drawn on an average of varying prices)
PREVALENCE OF ‘BLACK FUNGUS’ ON THE GLOBE-
Delhi, Maharashtra & now Surat, Ahmedabad, Rajkot in Gujarat ( all in India) are aggressively battling it out while also traced in the US, the UK, France, Austria, Brazil etc.
Difficulties may range from as little as chewing or swallowing discomforts to something as devastating as a change in facial aesthetics, loss of an eye/eyes, nose or a jaw. Choice less, the doctor has but to surgically remove them to prevent the fungus from spreading to lungs, kidney or brain. *I have used the least disturbing images here in my blog; if you google, you will crawl in your skin.
We can’t even talk about the associated mental stress & trauma or the loss of self-esteem associated with the disease when we’re nothing but forced to sell all the tea in China: enduring a heart attack or even death in extreme cases.
ALL IN ALL !
Tough times ahead for critical covid patients especially the diabetics. The whole ploy goes like: diabetes weakens the immune system, the novel virus aggravates it while the steroid trying to save life actually fans the flames further.
This is back-breaking for covid families already torn apart mentally, physically and financially. It’s affecting the old & the young alike.
After running short of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, medicines & injections, of late vaccines; is this a new scarcity looking at us in the face-That of anti-fungal drugs! Only time will tell if this is as bad as it looks or a momentary scare. But if it persists, we have a lot more to worry as if there wasn’t enough. The good part- IT IS NOT CONTAGIOUS and the bad part- IT IS A PRICEY AFFAIR apart from the fatality. God bless!
Word from the author: I’ve condensed every important & updated information as of today 12/5/2021 about the disease in this blog. Keep safe & Help others by Sharing this Info Blog! Do SUBSCRIBE.
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Disclaimer: Information given in the article are true to their published date. Any update or change in facts shall not have any bearing upon the publisher.