Remember how we all wished for 2020 to go away and begin an entirely new chapter with 2021? Can’t believe we were all in for a shock. This year has already witnessed the deadly second wave of COVID-19, a disastrous cyclone and the rise of a new epidemic- black fungus. The current year without any doubt is officially worse than the previous one.
Mucormycosis, which is commonly known as black fungus, is a serious fungal infection. It is caused by mucormycetes, a type of fungus which is found in the environment. Black fungus is a potentially serious condition that causes blurred or double vision, chest pain and breathing difficulties. It is affecting COVID-19 patients as well as those who have recovered from the coronavirus.
Although it does affect people without any COVID-19 history, cases of the same are quite rare. For now, black fungus seems to be on the rise among people who have either tested positive or recovered from COVID-19. “Patient who are administered steroids for long duration which increases the blood sugar levels, given oxygen therapy or were on ventilator, hospitalised for a long time, poor hospital hygiene, poor oral hygiene maintenance and who have other comorbidities are at high risk,” explains Dr Dimple Ajwani, BDS, MDS and Chief Dentist at Dr. Ajwani’s Dental Center.
Symptoms Of Black Fungus: The main symptoms of the disease are discoloration of the oral tissues, tongue, gums, stuffy nose, severe pain, swelling of face, heaviness below the eyes, discomfort, fever and headache.
The disease has serious life-long effects and can also prove to be fatal. Here’s how you can protect yourself and reduce your chances of getting the black fungus infection.
If you weren’t already in the habit of brushing twice a day, it would be a good time to start now. “Maintaining good oral hygiene will prevent these microorganisms to grow and multiply thus facilitating early destruction of this fungal infection,” explains Dr Dimple. Ensure to keep your tongue clean too.
Please remember to change your toothbrush and tongue cleaners once you test negative for COVID-19. Dr Dimple says that fungus replicates at a microscopic level which are not visible to the naked eye. “Even if there is the slightest possibility of any remnants on our toothbrush, there are chances of catching the infection even after one has recovered from COVID-19,” warns Dr Dimple.
This one should be followed by everyone. It’s highly advisable to keep gargling and rinsing your mouth after every meal. “Food gets accumulated on the surface of teeth and between the teeth and gums thus feeding the microorganisms. A good mouth rinse and squish will prevent any microorganisms from harbouring in the oral cavity,” imparts Dr Dimple.
All the aids used to maintain good oral hygiene like toothbrush, floss holders, tongue cleaners should be properly dis-infected by antiseptic mouthwash. This should be done regularly and not just once. “The antiseptic mouthwash destroys almost every virus and microorganisms on its surface. These cleaning aids should be dipped in these antiseptics mouthwash, cleaned thoroughly and air dried,” Dr Dimple elaborates.
1)For those who enjoy gardening and do it regularly, please wear gloves and full clothes while doing so. “Black fungus is caused by a fungus which is present in the environment, particularly in soil. So be careful while handling soil, or any decaying matter such as leaves, compost, animal dung,” advises Dr. Siddhi Thuse, Founder of Eledent Dental and Cosmetics.
2)This one’s extremely crucial. If you’re a diabetic patient who has recently recovered from COVID-19, kindly keep a track of your blood sugar levels. “Keep control of blood sugar levels and those on steroids must monitor blood sugar levels regularly,” says Dr Siddhi. If there are any fluctuations, get in touch with your doctor ASAP.
Please remember that mucormycosis is an extremely serious condition so do not waste any critical time to initiate treatment. Get in touch with your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms. Meanwhile, start incorporating these oral tips into your daily routine. Remember that prevention is most definitely better than cure.
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