Mucormycosis, also called as “The Black Fungus” is an aggressive but rare form of infection. It is caused by a fungus, commonly found in soil and plants. This mainly affects the sinus, brain, lungs and eye socket. With the recent second wave of corona, it has become a house hold name.
What is Mucormycosis?
You must be hearing its cases all over the news, so lets get into the details and learn about this deadly fungus. Now the question arises, what is mucormycosis? According to Wikipedia, “Mucormycosis is a serious fungal infection usually in people who are immunocompromised.” The causative organism is Rhizopus Oryzae, & most commonly seen in patients with HIV-AIDS and insulin dependent Diabetic patients. Most importantly this notorious fungus re emerged in India as a post covid complication and compromised with thousands of lives all over the country.
Symptoms of Mucormycosis :
The Black Fungus has a mortality rate of 50%. In other words, if it ever affects you there is a 50% chance of survival. Therefore making it a life threatening condition. Apparently, steroids triggers the causing of the fungus. Steroids in most cases acts as life saving drugs. Moreover they also reduce inflammation and helps to boost the body immune system. But when a diabetic or immunocompromised person who also suffered from covid recently is taking them, it becomes a topic of concern.
The signs and symptoms of the Black Fungus depends on the site of its growth. This includes :
1. NOSE :
The most prominent symptom is formation of swelling and black crust around the nose. If left untreated spreads around the nose, in the eyes and sinuses. Also, Blackish nasal discharge is seen with nose bleed and nasal congestion.
2. CHEEKS & EYES :
There is loss of sensation over half of the face including around the eyes. Blurring and double vision, is quite common during this sickness. However, you must visit your doctor immediately if you suffer from any sort of numbness, redness , pain or irritation near the eye area.
3. CHEST PAIN :
The fungus can enter through your nostrils. And can directly attack your airway and lungs. This will make it hard for you to breath and cause nasal blockage. Similarly you may feel sharp, shooting pain in your chest. All these signs indicate towards mucormycosis.
4. ACUTE HEADACHE :
In some cases, the fungus travels into your brain causing loss of memory, headache and dizziness. There is damage to the nerves that helps our vision. That leads to partial or complete vision loss and injury to the retina.
5. EFFECTS ON ORAL CAVITY :
The majority of signs that you can notice in your oral cavity during the black fungus infection are-
- Loosening of teeth
- Palate discoloration
- Facial pain over your gums
- Loss of sensation over half of your face
- Pain in the teeth and sinuses
CAN YOU GET THE BLACK FUNGUS WITHOUT BEING COVID POSITIVE ?
Answer to that is yes. An alarming number of rise in mucormycosis cases in the second wave of COVID are reported. 40% of them are patients who are not infected by the virus, yet got the fungal infection. So what happened there? The person must have low immunity strength, in other words high sugar or cancer patients can contract the fungus. On the other hand, unhygienic or unclean environment can also trigger the situation.
We have been talking about high blood sugar levels. But how high is that? Anything above 300 mg/dl for fasting sugar is quite dangerous.
Firstly, the primary cause of mucormycosis is unhealthy hygiene conditions. Secondly it spreads through the humidifiers and uncleaned air conditioning ducts.
- Nasal care and good hygiene is a must.
- The humidifiers should be well maintained.
- Above all make the right lifestyle choices to keep your blood sugar in check to keep the fungus at bay.
- Wear masks when outside.
- Put on hand gloves, long sleeve shirts and long trousers whenever possible.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO WHEN YOU GET ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS :
- Visit your doctor as fast you can
- Give your proper history with accurate complaints
- They will ask for a few tests to confirm which kind of fungus is it.
- Then depending on your condition, the team of doctors assigned for your case will decide your treatment plan
- They will start you on an anti fungal course and then move further.
In conclusion, all these signs and symptoms should be taken very seriously. There is no need of panic in these situations, just go visit your nearest doctor when you find any of the above traits.
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