The scenario of the covid pandemic takes a new turn. Here excessive use of steroids can lead to a secondary fungal infection. This infection is nothing but the most dangerous black fungus which appears as a post-covid complication.
What is black fungus?
Black fungus, also known as mucormycosis. This is a very rare fungal infection, most often life-threatening. And wet surfaces are their main origin.
Mucormycosis is highly infectious. It can’t spread from person to person or person to animals. Also, these kinds of fungal infections are unlikely to happen in a person, who is not having diabetes. But, nowadays black fungus appears among the covid-19 patients who are taking steroids.
What does the black fungus do to your body?
Mucormycosis originates in your nasal sinus. From that, it spreads to the face, eyes, bone. And at last, reaches the brain. So, it is mostly found in patients who are having ENT infections, sinusitis, diabetes, kidney problems, or any kind of infectious disease.
Symptoms of mucormycosis
- Stuffy nose
- Facial pain
- Loss of vision
- Black lesion on the mouth
- Organ damage
- Lungs infection
Don’t get confused between mucormycosis and aspergillosis as both have the same clinical features called vision loss. But, aspergillosis is less lethal than black fungus.
Symptoms of aspergillosis
- Constant headache
What is a steroid?
Steroids are the exogenous and artificial form of medicine used for reducing inflammation. But these medications show various side effects. So, these side effects are like, lowering your immunity and raising the blood glucose level. Besides it, our body also produces cortisol. This is the endogenous steroid responsible for reducing inflammation. Also, It is very helpful for people who are immunocompromised.
How is it related to covid-19?
In the initial stage of covid-19, the virus replicates in our body. And slowly they are growing and inflammation takes place in the second week.so, here steroids are the medications that act as anti-inflammatory agents, and the fever becomes settled down.
Like that The use of steroids at the right time for the right covid patient acts as a miracle. Also, the steroids like dexamethasone and methyl-prednisolone play a major role in reducing the mortality rate in covid-19. But, using this under the physician’s order is always advisable.
Why steroids cause black fungus in covid-19?
According to Dr.Hemant Thacker, consultant physician and cardiometabolic specialist, Bhatia and Reliance hospital Mumbai, “black fungus is a growth of fungal material caused by a bug and excessive use of steroids in covid patients is one of the leading cause behind such kind of fungal infections.”
Although the black fungus is commonly seen in diabetic patients, having covid-19. but, it can also raise the blood sugar level and make the patient immunosuppressive. so, the use of steroids should be moderated in covid-19.
In which cases it will be a possible side effect?
The patient whose oxygen level is above 90 and still taking steroids, then black fungus is a possible side effect for them. Also, the overuse of steroids beyond its therapeutic limit can give rise to some serious fungal side effects. To control the cytokine storm in critically ill patients, steroids can be used. But, now black fungus is appearing as an opportunistic infection.
In such cases, early diagnosis is very much essential. Diagnostic evaluations like CT scans of the face can be very helpful to detect mucormycosis. Therefore, antifungal drugs like Amphotericin are mostly using for mucormycosis.