Mucormycosis and COVID 19: Here’s everything you need to know about it

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Mucormycosis and COVID 19: Here’s everything you need to know about it
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The rising COVID cases are alarming and so is the peculiar fungal infection known as ‘black fungal infection’. This infection can escalate rapidly and lead to people losing their eyesight or even organ function. This infection is increasingly rare but due to the pandemic, the number of people getting infected with mucor has gone up significantly.

 

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan took to Twitter on Friday, 14 May, to advise people on the early detection and management of this infection.

 

Black fungal infection or mucormycosis is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of moulds called micromycetes. 

Dr Aparna Mahajan, Consultant, ENT, Fortis Hospital, Faridabad said that this infection is most commonly found in the nose, the sinuses, the eyes and the brain.

 

She added, “The mortality rate in those infected with mucor is almost as high as 50-70 per cent. This infection is said to act like cancer, the only difference is that, unlike cancer, this can prove to be fatal within days or even hours”. 

 

She stated that it is said to be linked to COVID-19 as the virus per se creates an environment that makes it easy for the fungus to grow. The use of steroids during COVID treatment can lead to mucormycosis. “Steroids can also reduce our immunity, and have the tendency to increase blood sugar levels, even in non-diabetics. They can also create the ideal environment that allows the infection to spread”.

 

 

“Steroids should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision,” said Dr Mahajan.

 

She added, “No individual should self-medicate with steroids. Steroids aren’t medicines to be taken without a doctor’s supervision. The timing and duration of the steroids are very important, especially in the case of COVID-19. In the initial five to seven days, steroids should not be given. Even after then, the doctor should take that call based on the patient’s condition. Steroids should only be added very judiciously to the treatment.”

 

Warning signs of this infection include:

 

Any kind of facial swelling, especially around the eyes and cheeks.

Runny nose.

Nasal congestion.

Headache (with other symptoms).

 

Is mucormycosis treatable?

 

Yes, but the success rate and the type of treatment will depend on a few factors. The stage at which the infection is will determine whether the patient can be saved or not.

Dr Mahajan explained, “The course of the treatment will also vary depending on which organs are involved, it can require aggressive surgical debridement.”

 

 

How can you effectively manage the infection?

 

Early detection is the key to treating the infection successfully. Some Dos and Dont's mentioned by Dr Harsh Vardhan in his tweet can help diagnose and treat the disease at the earliest. 

 

These include not ignoring early warning signs, using steroids judiciously, and seeking medical help to detect and eliminate the infection at the earliest.

 

Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: Expert approved tips on tackling mental health during COVID 19 

 

 

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