Ever since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March last year, people have been particular about immunity.
From home remedies to supplements, people have been getting their hands on every feasible option to boost the immune system. However, there has also been spike in popularity of cow dung and cow urine as a ‘cure’ for coronavirus, with no scientific proof to substantiate the claim.
Experts are raising alarm over the possibility of fungal infection, called Mucormycosis or black fungus, due to the use of cow dung. Ahmedabad has been witnessing 10 to 12 new cases of black fungus daily and the administration is now setting up a separate facility to treat these patients. According to doctors, people with diabetes are at a higher risk of this infection.
Over the past few weeks, black fungus has been reported from several states like Maharashtra, Odisha, Delhi, Gujarat, etc and has been seen in people who recently recovered from coronavirus. One reason for this infection is the weakened immunity caused by steroids taken during Covid-19 infection.
According to experts, the black fungus is already present in air and land; and infects a person with weakened immunity. Consumption of steroids during coronavirus to strengthen lung function has been cited as one reason for this infection. “The fungus first enters the body through the nose and then reaches the brain with blood from the lungs. The higher the infection, the more severe the symptoms,” Dr Suryakant, head of the respiratory department of King George Medical University, Lucknow, explains.
While social distancing, hand hygiene and vaccination are the only scientific remedies for coronavirus, people have been propagating the idea of using cow dung and urine as a cure, an experiment that can have serious repercussions.
Eminent doctor and member of Ahmedabad Medical Association, Dr Vasant Patel says that usage videos of taking bath in cow dung and cow urine to promote the immune system are circulating on social media are misleading. There is a misconception that cow dung and cow urine can help cure coronavirus. On the contrary, people are inviting an infectious disease called Mucormycosis, says Patel. “Using face masks, hand sanitisers and maintaining social distancing is the only way to prevent Covid-19," he says, appealing people not fall for such dangerous quacks.
Here are some of the common symptoms of black fungus:
-Reddening of eyes like conjunctivitis.
-Nose blocking and frequent running nose.
-unbearable headache and red eyes.
-swelling of one side of the face.
-persistent pain in jaws and teeth.
-blood in vomiting.
The government has released an evidence-based advisory for screening, diagnosis and management of the disease. Stating that it may turn fatal if not cared for, the government said mucormycosis is a fungal infection that mainly affects people who are medication that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens. Sinuses or lungs of such individuals get affected after fungal spores are inhaled from air. The guideline was prepared by the Union Health Ministry and ICMR that have been in the frontline of the government’s war against the coronavirus pandemic.