What Is Black Fungus?

Written by Dr. Veena Madhankumar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team

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As if the symptoms of COVID-19 were not enough, health experts are reporting cases of a new and rare fungal infection called Black Fungus among the people affected with COVID-19. Here is some information about this potentially fatal fungal infection, its symptoms, and ways to prevent it.

What Is Mucormycosis?

Mucormycosis, a fungal infection, is caused by a group of fungi called Mucormycetes. It is a rare but serious fungal infection. Mucormycosis usually affects people with weakened immune systems or any other health illnesses.

 
 

Who Is More Likely to Get Mucormycosis?

Certain groups of people are more likely to be infected with mucormycosis. This includes people with:
1.Diabetes.
2.Cancer.
3.Low white blood cell count (Neutropenia).
4.Excessive amounts of iron.
5.Skin injury due to cuts or burns.

People who underwent organ or stem cell transplants or under long-term treatment with steroids are also susceptible.

What Are the Symptoms of Mucormycosis?

The symptoms differ according to the site where the fungus is growing. There are different types of mucormycosis depending on the site of the fungus.

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Sinus and Brain Symptoms:

1.Headache.
2.One-sided facial swelling.
3.Nasal congestion.
4.Black lesions on the mouth or nasal bridge.
5.Fever.

Lung Symptoms:

1.Shortness of breath.
2.Chest pain.
3.Cough.
4.Fever.

Digestive Tract Symptoms:

1.Abdominal pain.
2.Nausea.
3.Vomiting.
4.Abdominal bleeding.

Skin Symptoms:

1.Blisters or Ulcers.
2.Pain and Warmth.
3.Redness around the infected area.
4.Swelling around the wound.

Why Are COVID Patients Getting Affected with Mucormycosis?

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People who are more at risk for mucormycosis are those people who have weakened immune systems that make them more susceptible to fungal or any other opportunistic infections. This includes people who are currently affected with COVID-19 or those who recently recovered from COVID-19.

What Are the Ways to Protect Against Mucormycosis?

The fungi causing mucormycosis are present throughout the environment. So it is not possible to avoid breathing the fungal spores from the air. There is also no vaccine available to prevent mucormycosis. But there are some ways you can follow to lower the chances of developing mucormycosis.

1.Avoid going to areas where there is a lot of dust.
2.Avoid activities that involve close contact with dust or soil.
3.Wear gloves or long-sleeved clothing, shoes, and long pants to protect yourself.
4.Avoid contact with water-damaged buildings after any natural disaster.

How To Treat Mucormycosis?

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Mucormycosis is a serious infection, and it has to be treated only with prescribed antifungal medications either orally or through a vein. In some, mucormycosis requires surgery where the infected tissue is removed.

Mucormycosis is a serious infection, and if left untreated, it can be life-threatening. So if you notice any of the above symptoms, please contact your healthcare professional and get yourself treated. Along with the above precautions, follow all the necessary guidelines like washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask, and maintaining social distance.
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