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Covid-19: What Is Yellow Fungus And How Can I Stay Safe?

Dr Mrinal Sircar, Director and Head, Pulmonology Fortis, Noida, explains the Yellow Fungus phenomenon and what symptoms to watch out for.

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This article is a part of a series by The Better India to share verified information about COVID-19 care. While several posts on various aspects of fighting COVID-19 are being circulated on social media and messaging services like WhatsApp, we urge you not to trust unverified content. To separate fact from fiction, we will be sharing the videos and content with doctors and experts and bring you their responses with scientific research-backed information.

After the surge in cases in both Black (Mucormycosis) and White Fungus (Candidiasis), reports now suggest that a patient in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, is suffering from a yellow fungus infection.

Patients with a low immune response are usually susceptible to many fungal infections, including — Mucormycosis, Candidiasis, Aspergillosis, Cryptococcosis and Histoplasmosis fungus.

Dr Mrinal Sircar, Director and Head, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Noida, says, “Yellow Fungus is a type of fungal infection that tends to affect those who are already vulnerable because of weakened immunity.”

Yellow fungus
Dr Mrinal Sircar

“It could possibly be Aspergillus Flavus, but more information is needed to determine the same.”

He adds that the symptoms will depend entirely on the organ that the fungal infection affects. “Aspergillus Flavus is rarely involved in infection. Infection with Aspergillus implies that the person has low immunity and it can be potentially life threatening,” adds Dr Sircar.

During a press conference, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS, said, “It is seen that Aspergillus affects the lungs and in some patients, can also lead to an allergic reaction. This fungus also has the ability of creating a cavity in the lungs, which can cause damage to the lungs. As of now, we are seeing Mucormycosis in COVID-19 patients, and on rare occasions, Aspergillosis and Candidiasis too.”

Things to watch out for: (with inputs from agencies)

· Acute lethargy, feeling fatigue and/or unexplained exhaustion

Since the fungal infection spreads internally, it starts to weigh heavily on the internal organs that it affects. This could leave one feeling exhausted and lethargic.

· Loss of appetite

The fungal infection can also interfere with the digestive system, which could lead to a loss of appetite.

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· Unusual and unexplained weight loss

Doctors recommend watching out for changes in metabolism. A sudden unexpected weight loss must be investigated.

· Red and sunken eyes

While facial deformity is a symptom associated with Black Fungus (Mucormycosis), those suffering from Yellow Fungus can experience red and sunken eyes too.

· Slow healing of wounds

In some cases, Yellow Fungus can cause a delay in healing of wounds, while in extreme cases, it may also lead to the leakage of pus. These conditions need medical attention immediately.

Dr Guleria also urges that the infections be referred to with their scientific names to avoid the spread of rumours and fear. “Medical advice would be best suited for such a situation. Only take medication after your doctor has advised the same,” adds Dr Sircar.

(Edited by Yoshita Rao)

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