Types and diagnosis
- The first type is rhino-orbital-cerebral mucormycosis. This starts as a common cold or sinusitis, but soon spreads to the eyes producing redness of the eyes, and later bulging of the eyes known as proptosis. It may eventually lead to paralysis of some of the eye muscles, or even to blindness. It can also spread to the brain, and if this occurs, the prognosis is very grave.
- Other forms of mucormycosis include the pulmonary form in which the lungs are mainly involved and less common cutaneous mucormycosis or disseminated mucormycosis, where it spreads throughout the body.
- It can be cured if the condition is diagnosed early and aggressive treatment given. Antifungal drugs such as Amphotericin B are used, but they are quite toxic and also expensive. Sometimes if the case is grave it may need a surgery.
Sugar control, steroid use
- It is important for diabetic people to keep their sugar levels under very good control.
- Meticulous hygiene and care of the equipment inside the ICU including oxygen tubes and ventilators should be done in order to reduce the risk of fungal and other infections.
- Use of the steroids does not help in the initial phase of COVID-19 and may also worsen the situation.
- It should be used only when the cytokine storm is suspected, (which usually occurs in the second week of the COVID-19 infection) , and that too with discretion.
Monitor blood glucose
- If proper importance is not given to monitoring of blood sugar levels while giving steroids during the treatment of COVID-19 it can lead to extremely dangerous high blood glucose levels.
- This can also precipitate diabetic ketoacidosis — a classic situation where the more dangerous forms of mucormycosis occur.
Way Forward: –
- Healthy diet with a lot of vegetables and less cereals (rice or chapati) by including more protein in the form of bengal gram, green gram, black gram, or mushroom will help fight covid better.
- An active and regular exercise programme is necessary.
- It is very important to take medicine timely and keep sugar level under control.
- All these measures will help to effect good control of diabetes which can reduce the risk of developing COVID-19 and also its dangerous side-effects including mucormycosis.
- Frequent monitoring of sugar levels should be done.If possible then wear a small sensor patch on the upper arm which can continuously monitor a person’s blood glucose levels and thus keep it under good control throughout the day.
- Vaccination is also important as it will ensure that the risk of developing severe COVID-19, requiring hospitalisation and thus the risk of developing dangerous infections such as mucormycosis, can be drastically reduced.
While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in an unproportional manner across the country and a looming fear of a third wave exists, cases of a mysterious infection, ‘black fungus’ affecting COVID patients is rising across states in India and causing many more complications.Discuss.