AIIMS doctor says proper hygiene necessary to prevent mucormycosis. All you need to know about fungal infection

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The fungal infection mucormycosis, which is affecting many Covid-19 patients, is a growing concern in India. Dr Sanjeev Sinha, from All India Medical Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, emphasised the need to maintain proper hygiene to prevent the infection. He also said that it is a curable disease, reported news agency ANI on Wednesday.

“We have to maintain proper hygiene to prevent mucormycosis. Immunosuppressant patients and those who use steroids for long time have to take extra precautions. It is a treatable disease,” ANI quoted Dr Sinha as saying.

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The fungal infection mainly affects people who are on medication for other health complexities that impair the ability to fight environmental pathogens, according to the Indian Medical Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The inhalation of fungal spores from the air affects the lungs and sinuses of such individuals, the ICMR further said.

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The research body has also described the symptoms of mucormycosis or black fungus which include pain and redness around the eyes and/or nose, fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomits and altered mental status.

Also read: Cases of Covid-linked mucormycosis reported across India

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According to ICMR, mucormycosis can be suspected in Covid-19 patients – including diabetics or immunosuppressed – when there is nasal blockage or congestion, blackish/bloody nasal discharge, and local pain on the cheekbone. It is also suspected if there is blurred or double vision with pain, fever, or skin lesion, thrombosis & necrosis (eschar), chest pain, pleural effusion, hemoptysis, worsening of respiratory symptoms, as per the ICMR.

In order to spread awareness around the disease, the government also released a set of instructions to follow the prevent infections. Here are the dos and don’ts to reduce the risk of infections, as released by the ICMR:

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Dos:

Control hyperglycemia

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Monitor blood glucose level post-Covid-19 discharge and in patients with diabetes

Use steroids judiciously. Timing, doses and duration should be correct

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Use clean, sterile water for humidifiers during oxygen therapy

Use antibiotic or antifungals judiciously

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Don’ts:

Miss warning signs and symptoms

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Consider all the cases with a blocked nose as cases of bacterial sinusitis, particularly in the context of immunosuppression and/or Covid-19 patients on immunomodulators

Hesitate to seek aggressive investigations, as appropriate (KOH staining & microscopy, culture, MALDI-TOF), for detecting fungal etiology

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Lose crucial time to initiate treatment for mucormycosis

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