Covid-19 and Black Yeast Infection: Dos and Don’ts, Symptoms and Treatment | India News
In a separate press release, the Union Health Ministry answered some of the common questions about the infection.
Here’s what you need to know about the infection and the government’s warning:
What is mucormycosis?
Mucormycosis or black fungus is a complication caused by a fungal infection. People get mucormycosis from coming into contact with fungal spores in the environment. It can also develop on the skin after the fungus enters the skin through a cut, scrape, burn, or other type of skin trauma.
The disease is detected among patients who are recovering or have recovered from Covid-19. Also, anyone who is diabetic and whose immune system is not working well should be on guard against this.
According to an advisory issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the following conditions in Covid-19 patients increase the risk of mucormycosis infection:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Weakening of the immune system due to the use of steroids.
- Prolonged stay in ICU / hospital
- Comorbidities / post-organ transplant / cancer
- Voriconazole therapy (used to treat serious fungal infections)
How is infection related to Covid-19?
The disease is caused by a set of microorganisms known as mucormycetes, which are naturally present in the environment, seen mainly in the soil and in decomposing organic matter such as leaves, compost, and piles.
In a normal course, our body’s immune system successfully fights off such fungal infections. However, Covid-19 affects our immune system. In addition, the treatment of patients with Covid-19 involves the intake of drugs such as dexamethasone, which inhibits the response of our immune system. Due to these factors, Covid-19 patients face a renewed risk of failing in the battle against attacks mounted by organisms such as mucormycetes.
Additionally, Covid patients who undergo oxygen therapy in the ICU, where a humidifier is used, are prone to fungal infection due to exposure to moisture.
But this does not mean that all Covid patients will be infected with mucormycosis. The disease is rare in those without diabetes, but it can be fatal if not treated right away. Chances of recovery depend on early diagnosis and treatment.
What are the common symptoms?
Mucormycosis begins to manifest as a skin infection in the air pockets located behind the forehead, nose, cheekbones, and between the eyes and teeth. It then spreads to the eyes, lungs, and can even spread to the brain. It causes blackness or discoloration of the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood.
The Indian Council of Medical Research has warned that not all cases of nasal congestion should be considered cases of bacterial sinusitis, especially during or after the treatment of patients with Covid-19. Seek medical help to detect a yeast infection.
How is it treated?
While the infection can start with a skin infection, it can spread to other parts of the body.
Treatment consists of surgically removing all dead and infected tissue. In some patients, this can result in loss of the upper jaw, or sometimes even the eye.
Healing can also involve a 4-6 week course of intravenous antifungal therapy. Since it affects various parts of the body, treatment requires a team of microbiologists, internal medicine specialists, intensivist neurologists, otolaryngologists, ophthalmologists, dentists, surgeons, and others.
Controlling diabetes is one of the main prevention methods suggested by ICMR. Therefore, diabetic patients with Covid-19 must be extremely careful.
Self-medication and steroid overdose can lead to fatal events and therefore the doctor’s prescription must be strictly followed.
Speaking about the adverse effects of inappropriate steroid use, Niti Aayog member Dr. VK Paul says: “Steroids should never be given at an early stage of Covid-19. They should be taken only after the sixth day of infection. Patients should adhere to the appropriate doses of the medications and take the medication for a specified number of days as recommended by the physicians. The rational use of drugs must be guaranteed to avoid adverse side effects of the drug. ”
“Apart from steroids, the use of Covid-19 drugs like Tocilizumob, Itolizumab also suppresses the immune system. And when these medications are not used properly, the risk increases, as our immune systems cannot fight the yeast infection. ”Dr. Paul adds.
For patients receiving oxygen therapy, you must ensure that the water in the humidifier is clean and is refilled regularly. Attention must be paid to ensure that there are no water leaks (to avoid wet surfaces where the fungus can reproduce). Patients must maintain proper hygiene by keeping hands and body clean.