The second wave of COVID19 has left a devastating mark on the lives of millions of Indians. The battle is still on and we are worried and anxious about the third wave, and the possible disruption it will cause. Most experts believe that the third wave will greatly impact children. The epidemiological pattern of the pandemic indicates the same. The first wave severely impacted people above 60yrs. The second wave affected the younger generation. And now as most adults are either infected or vaccinated, it is expected that children may be at a higher risk in the coming months. Also Read - THIS City in India to Begin Door-to-door Vaccination Drive From Monday. All You Need to Know
What’s more worrying is that the virus is mutating in such a way that it completely weakens the immune system causing added infections as the Black, White, and Yellow fungus – the ‘Black fungus’ having caused the maximum collateral damage. With these added dangers, it is natural for parents to be extremely worried about their kids. Dr. Jesal Sheth, Senior Consultant-Paediatrician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund talks about black fungus and how to protect your kids. Also Read - India's Remotest Corners May Soon Seen Vaccine Delivery Through Drones, Bids Invited: Report
Does Black Fungus Affect Kids?
Mucormycosis, also known as the ‘Black Fungus’, is a rare kind of fungal infection that has been recently seen in severe COVID19 patients. The disease is often characterized by hyphae growing in and around blood vessels and can be potentially life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals. Mucormycosis frequently infects the sinuses, brain, or lungs. While infection of the oral cavity or brain is the most common form of Mucormycosis, the fungus can also infect other areas of the body such as the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and other organ systems. Also Read - Breaking News LIVE Updates: Congress Leader of Opposition in Uttarakhand Assembly, Indira Hridayesh, Dies
Experts suggest that patients who either have compromised immunity or diabetics are more likely to develop the Black fungus infection. As compared to adults, children are less likely to have Diabetes or an immunocompromised immunity, which is why they are less prone to any form of fungal infection caused during COVID19 infection. However, recent reports have suggested rare cases of Mucormycosis or Black fungus infection in children too.
Symptoms That You Shouldn’t Ignore:
If in case your kid has developed a Black fungus infection, it is important that you pay attention to the symptoms, to prevent the complications that may follow.
- Headaches and swelling in the forehead
- Swelling in the one side of the face
- Black crusts around the nose
- Blurred vision or vision loss
- Respiratory complications such as chest pain, cough, shortness of breath
How to Protect Your Kids?
Frequent washing of hands and sanitizing before touching your eyes, nose, and mouth is crucial during such times. The first step is to educate our children about the pandemic, its risk factors, hygiene practices and ask them to follow all the precautionary measures. Encourage them to stay indoors and avoid having visitors at home. The virus spares no one, therefore, is important that you do not send kids outdoors to play. Rather engage them in indoor games. Use this time to engage them in reading books, helping with household chores, gardening, and spending time with family members. Make sure your child wears a mask whenever he or she has company and goes out to play. If left unattended, children may touch contaminated or infected surfaces and objects, which may lead to an infection. To avoid that make sure your children wash their hands regularly.
Moreover, early detection and timely treatment are key. if your child is diagnosed with Mucormycosis, then the treatment involves antifungal medicines along with surgery, based on the clinical condition. Do not ignore symptoms and consult your doctor when in doubt. Timely action is of paramount importance.
(Inputs from Dr. Jesal Sheth, Senior Consultant-Paediatrician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund)