#HealthBytes: Here's everything to know about mucormycosis or black fungus
Mucormycosis or black fungus is a rare but serious fungal infection with a mortality rate of 50%. It is caused by exposure to mucor mold found in soil, plants, and decaying fruits and vegetables. While the infection has been known for more than a century, a compromised immune system due to COVID-19 led to an increase in the number of mucormycosis cases. Here's more.
Unhygienic practices are the main cause for contracting mucormycosis
Doctors say that wearing masks for a long time without washing them is the most common cause of contracting mucormycosis. In addition, staying in poorly ventilated rooms like basements also increases the chances of the disease. Coming in contact with garbage dumps and not practicing proper hygiene like washing hands with soaps before touching the face is also a common cause.
Occurrence of mucormycosis among patients post-COVID-19
Mucormycosis, or black fungus as it is commonly known, can cause blindness, organ dysfunction, and even death, if not treated on time. The fungus can infect the nose, sinus, and lungs, or anywhere locally. Uncontrolled diabetes is found to be the biggest cause for the rising number of post-COVID-19 cases. Patients with compromised immune systems due to COVID-19 are also at a higher risk.
These are the common symptoms of this deadly disease
The commonly reported symptoms of mucormycosis are: 1) Nasal blockage with a blackish or bloody nasal discharge, 2) Pain or numbness on the cheekbone, 3) Loosening of the teeth, 4) Blurry and painful vision, 5) Blackish discoloration on the nasal bridge, 6) Respiratory symptoms like chest pain, pleural effusion, etc., 7) Bleeding from the nose, and lastly, 8) Vomiting of blood, among others.
Here's how you can stay safe from the disease
The most effective prevention is to wear a mask while venturing out to spaces where there is dust, garbage dumping, or food rotting. Washing and drying the masks is also important. Furthermore, patients who are under steroid medication should be constantly monitored. For those using oxygen concentrators, it is important to change the water in the humidifier regularly and use distilled water alone.