Hello, friends! The Coronavirus crisis has not ye-tended in the country and now cases of dangerous diseases like Black Fungus and White Fungus are in the news. And by dangerous I mean truly dangerous diseases. If you catch Covid-19, there is around a 90% chance that your life will be spared. You’ll come out of it alive. But if you get infected with Black Fungus there is only a 50% chance of survival. Its death rate is around 50%. Black Fungus White Fungus Yellow Fungus Symptoms & Treatment
What is this Black Fungus disease?
How does start?
How can it be prevented?
Come let’s find out in today’s article. To make this article, I consulted one of the top virologists of India again. Dr Gagandeep Kang.
Question: Dr Kang, what is this Black Fungus? Is it a new disease after Covid-19?
Answer: This isn’t a new disease. These fungal infections did happen before. And they’re happening now as well. The formal name of the Black Fungus disease isMucormycosis. It is an infection of the Mucorales fungal family. Those fungi belonging to the Mucorales family. And fungi of this order are found almost everywhere. In soil, in the environment, in the decaying fruits and vegetables, in normal fruits and vegetables, They are very common. It is a fungus. Anywhere you see, this fungus is already there. So it’s called an Environmental Contaminant. This disease comes under the category of Opportunistic Infections, friends. These infections do not cause trouble in normal conditions but whenever these viruses, bacteria, and fungi get the opportunity they attack and infect people.
When do they get the opportunity?
When the immune system of the person is weak. This Mucorales fungus is normally found in a lot of places in our environment and if it gets inside the body of a fit and the healthy person then there will be no problem at all. They wouldn’t even know that they have this fungus in their body. But if the immune system of the person is compromised, if the immune system is weak, and there can be many reasons for the weakening of the immune system, then the person can get infected. Black Fungus White Fungus Yellow Fungus Symptoms & Treatment
What are the chances that a person with a compromised immune system may get it?
Even then it is a rare disease. Because if your environment is clean then such diseases do not occur, generally. The environment should be clean and people should not be using steroids. And the other drugs that suppress the functions of the immune system, which are known as Immunosuppressants, when they are used as a part of any treatment, then Mucromycosis may happen. So suppose there is a young and healthy person who does not have any medical problems, neither diabetes nor anything else, is the chance that they may catch this infection next to impossible? It is very very very rare. Black Fungus White Fungus Yellow Fungus Symptoms & Treatment.
So what are the reasons for a weak immune system?
If you have any other disease, like cancer and you’re getting chemotherapy treatment it weakens your immune system. If you have diabetes. Or if you’re getting the treatment for Covid-19 or you’re using steroids for a long period of time. Or you’re overusing steroids. That can lead to a weak immune system as well. Taking advantage of this, the fungus can get inside your body and get you infected. And there can be several ways of getting inside your body. One, through the air. When you breathe, there are numerous spores of this fungus in the air. They can enter your lungs and infect you. Two, through food. If the food is spoiled or has decaying fungus on it.
It can reach your stomach and cause an infection. Another way is through wounds. If the spores contaminate your wound. But the most common way is through the air. They infect your lungs when you breathe them in. The area of the nose and the sinus, are the most common areas where the mucormycosis infection happens. And when the blood flow is restricted here the skin gets discoloured, often into a black colour. This is why it is called Black Fungus. It isn’t that the fungus is really black coloured. Instead, it is the symptom this area starts looking black is the reason why it is known as Black Fungus. From here the infection can spread to the eyes and brain as well. It can cause blindness, headaches and seizures as well.
How long does it take to spread? – Black Fungus White Fungus Yellow Fungus Symptoms & Treatment
From the infection till the symptoms start showing. When people are very immunocompromised, then the progression time is less than a week. So the person gets to know that they are infected within a week. If you do get infected, the symptoms that you might come across depends on the area of the body where the fungus is growing. If we talk about the area of the sinus then you may get toothaches, blurry visions, headaches, nasal congestions black lesions may form here and you may also get a fever. If this infection started spreading from your lungs then you may get a fever, cough, chest pains, bloody vomit or cough, or shortness of breath. If your skin is infected if any wound gets infected then the area around the wound will start turning black. If it starts from your stomach, which is known as gastrointestinal mucormycosis then you’ll get abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting.
But as I told you, the most common is getting infected while breathing. So the first category of symptoms that I told you about you need to concentrate on them primarily. The symptoms are very general. A biopsy is required to diagnose them. And if there is an infection in the lungs x-rays and CT scans are needed. This is a very dangerous disease for anyone catching it. The death rate is very high, as I told you already. The mortality rate is 50% but if it gets very severe, then the death rate may reach 90%.
But the good news is that this disease is very rare. The immunocompromised people those who do not have a good immunity even they rarely get the disease. And if you are a fit and healthy person if your immune system is good, then you do not have to worry at all. As a treatment, anti-fungal medicines are given to the patients. but currently, in our country, there is a shortage of anti-fungal medicines too. Because this disease is spreading so fast throughout the country, in states like Rajasthan and Telangana, Black Fungus has already been declared an epidemic. And there have been notifications from the Central Government as well All the States have been warned about this disease. The second method of treatment is through surgery.
The infected tissue is removed from the body. Often, in several patients, it meant that their entire jaw had to be removed. Or someone’s eye had to be removed because it was infected. Such cases are also seen. If you have diabetes then you need to control it. The sugars should be tightly controlled. And the second thing is that only people who need to take steroids should be given any. So if your doctor says that you need to take steroids ask them why. Because, as I’ve seen, there is a widespread tendency of inappropriate steroid treatment. And only because of this we are seeing Mucormycosis in India and nowhere else.
It isn’t that the other countries do not have mucor. So in the document that we prepared, we wrote that only if the oxygen saturation falls below 90 steroids should be given. Only after dropping below 90%, we consider it to be changing from moderate to severe. Only then is steroid treatment started. But the people overusing it are also taking it when it’s above 90%. Oh, nearly everyone is. I have seen it prescribed even at 99% saturation. Really?
When it’s at a completely normal level? – Black Fungus White Fungus Yellow Fungus Symptoms & Treatment
Other than steroid overuse and diabetes the new information that’s coming in, friends, is that overusing Antibiotics and inhaling steam can also increase the chances of Black Fungus infection. Dr Rajeev Jayadevan is a leading gastroenterologist in Kerala He analysed 210 patients of Black Fungus. He found that all those patients had used antibiotics. And only 14% of the patients had NOT used steroids. And 21% of the patients did not have diabetes. This proves that there can be several other potential causes apart from steroids and diabetes. That are causing the Black Fungus infections. And the doctor concluded with three potential causes of the infection according to him. First, overuse of Antibiotics. Because antibiotics apparently increase the risk of fungal infection. Second, taking zinc supplements. Fungi can grow easily in a zinc-rich environment.
And third, excessive steam inhalation. Many people were sending WhatsApp forwards saying that steam should be inhaled. And that it will reduce the chances of getting a Black Fungus infection. And this was a treatment procedure of Covid as per the WhatsApp University. These aren’t true. In fact, if you inhale steam, first, it increases the moisture in your body. And for fungus to grow, moisture and humidity provide a good environment. And second, the steam is so hot that when you inhale it can cause burns inside the body. Now friends, setting aside Black Fungus, After Black Fungus there are now news reports of White Fungus. And after White Fungus, just the other day I heard news reports on Yellow Fungus.
What about them? Are White Fungus and Yellow Fungus new diseases that are cropping up?
AIIMS Chief Dr Randeep Guleria says that all these names; Black Fungus, White Fungus, Yellow Fungus, are creating unnecessary confusion. These diseases aren’t of different types neither are they caused by different reasons. All these diseases are because of fungus. And the reasons for these infections are very similar. Your weakened immune system. It is not even that the fungi are of different colours.
That one’s a white fungus and the other yellow. They are simply named based on the symptoms. As a symptom of Black Fungus, this area becomes black in the patients. What happens in the patients who have white Fungus infections is that their tongue often becomes white. Or white patches are seen in their oral cavities and food pipes. Aspergillus is known as White Fungus. And you might’ve seen Aspergillus as a mold on bread. The fungus that you’ve seen growing on bread is Aspergillus. Immunocompetent people may also get infected with it. Allergic Bronchopulmonary and Aspergillosis are the same. Second, ears and eyes may also get infected with it.
So what is the mortality rate of healthy people infected by this?
Mortality is very low in healthy people because if you consider all the Aspergillus infections most of the people will get well. And even without treatment, they may get well. If it is a superficial infection. But if they get systemic infections then the mortality is around 20%-40%. And that happens in immunocompromised people. Black Fungus White Fungus Yellow Fungus Symptoms & Treatment
Shall the same precautions be taken for this?
Maintaining hygiene, etc. Steroids, first and foremost, steroids. Only the appropriate usage of steroids. Steroids should only be taken when absolutely necessary. It is important to know that when these all these diseases that we’re seeing now aren’t caused by unique factors. In the case of White Fungus too, infection is caused after being inhaled when you breathe. Only the areas getting infected differ. And the symptoms are a bit different. And the mortality rate differs a little too. And finally, it is also important to know friends that all these fungal infections aren’t contagious as per the information provided till now.
So like in Covid-19 where when you get in contact with a Covid-19 patient, the chances of your getting infected increases it happens in Covid-19, but it is not so with these fungal infections. There is a very famous proverb, friends. “Prevention is better than Cure.” And this proverb is very valid for these cases. Try your best to prevent these diseases. To do this, keep your environmental conditions hygienic. Maintain cleanliness around you. Especially if there are people around you whose immune systems may already be compromised. Think about the environmental conditions where fungus generally spread. When humidity is high. When the moisture content in the air is high. And the temperature is higher than the room temperature.
Doesn’t it happen when you keep the food outside the fridge fungus starts growing on it?
Similar environmental conditions should be avoided if there are immunocompromised people around. Additionally, do not use steroids without the prescription of a doctor. I talked about it in the article on Home Treatment of Covid when I started naming steroids that you shouldn’t take without a doctor’s prescription. Especially if there are diabetic people. Or if you have any other pre-existing condition. Its side effects can be very harmful. But, in reality, such cases are seen today where not only are steroids overused but people are also using steroids in cases where the level of oxygen saturation is absolutely normal.
Apart from this, for the patients on oxygen therapy, they need to ensure that the water in the humidifier is regularly cleaned and refilled. And maintain personal hygiene properly. Wash your hands properly and timely. And maintain proper hygiene. Overall, it can be said that if you are a fit and healthy person and your immune system is good Then you have nothing to worry about. I hope you found this article informative as always. Let’s meet in the next article. Thank you very much!