There is raging fear about various types of fungal infections being reported from across India in the past few weeks.
Even though fungal infections aren’t a new discovery, Covid infection is said to have aggregated the rate of infection. News from various sources are making several claims about the colour of infection and its after effects.
Money9 spoke to Dr Kirti Sabnis, who is an infectious disease specialist at Fortis Hospital, to clarify the buzzing myths around yellow fungus.
Q: Is yellow fungus more lethal than black and white fungus?
Sabnis: Yellow fungus is not more lethal than black fungus; few fungi can be more severe, but we should not differentiate Yellow fungus or Black fungus on the colour. Each fungus has its own consequence. Depending upon your microbiology reports, treatment and drugs are decided upon.
Q: Is there a direct link between Covid-19 and yellow fungus?
Sabnis: Yellow fungus in conjunction with COVID19 are only found in patients with uncontrolled diabetes, those with history of cancer, or amongst those going through chemotherapy, those who have received special molecules like Tociluzumab or high-dose steroids; these patients are at high risk. Not every patient will get it.
Q: What are the risk factors for yellow fungus? Who should be more careful?
Sabnis: Risk factors for yellow fungus are similar to getting any other fungal infection. Patients with uncontrolled Diabetes, those who have low immunity because of organ transplant, those undergoing chemotherapy etc, should be more careful and should monitor themselves to keep a close watch on the symptoms of not just Yellow fungus, but any other fungal infections.
Q: How can you avoid getting fungal infections in the current scenario?
Sabnis: Reduce the risk factors for getting fungal infections by leading a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining general hygiene is very important to control the spread of fungus. Controlling underlying illnesses like diabetes is of paramount importance. Try to be at your ideal weight, have a healthy diet and consult a physician for control of sugars. If you have BP, maintain a healthy diet, and visit your physician for control of blood pressure. If you have symptoms, like continuous headache, tooth pain, sinus pain, heaviness in the cheeks – and it lasts more than 3 to 4 days, is continuous and disturbs your sleep, consult your physician or an ENT specialist.
Q: What is the treatment for yellow fungus in severe cases?
Sabnis: There is no major difference in the treatment of the various types of fungus. Surgical and medical intervention is required for all types of fungus, be it yellow, black or white. We identify the fungus in the microbiology lab or pathology lab, depending upon their appearance in the microscope slide or when they grow in the culture, we decide treatment based on scientific term for the fungus and don’t differentiate the fungus by their colour. The treatment doesn’t change. Firstly, a good surgery is important to remove all the tissues which are infected, and also simultaneously start on anti-fungal agents, which might go on for six weeks to three months, depending upon the clinical involvement. The decision about starting and stopping treatment, should be taken by Infectious Disease Consultants and experts.
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