Black, yellow and white fungus: What’s the difference and signs to watch out for

Black, yellow and white fungus infections have taken over our healthcare system. You need to be aware of their symptoms.
fungal infection
The cases of fungal infections are increasing. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Grace Bains Updated: 25 May 2021, 03:29 pm IST
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India has been courageously dealing with the wrath of the second wave of COVID-19. The emotional, financial and health impact of this virus has left many people in distress and while many are still coming out of their hardships, a new serious and deadly problem of fungal infections has arisen in COVID-19 patients, further burdening the healthcare system.

Factors such as comorbidities, low immunity levels, unsanitary conditions and overuse of steroids while treating COVID-19 saw black fungus’ infection or ‘mucormycosis’ cases develop across the country.

Subsequently, white fungus and yellow fungus infection cases also started to be reported, even before the healthcare experts could comprehensively chalk out a plan of action for managing black fungus cases.

black fungus or Mucormycosis
Do not take the black fungus infection lightly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

We are here to help you understand what these infections are and how to be one step ahead of them.

Understanding black fungus

This infection is caused by a type of mould called ‘mucormycetes’, present in our surroundings. The disease affects those who are heavily immunocompromised and have comorbidities such as diabetes. Another cause of its development is that to treat COVID-19 patients, steroids are used to reduce the inflammation in the respiratory tracts. Such patients have been seen to be more prone to getting this infection. Moreover, people with pre-existing morbidity such as diabetes, impaired kidney function or cancer are at higher risk of getting infected.

You should be on the lookout for symptoms such as:

  • Swelling on one side of the face
  • Severe headache
  • Nasal congestion
  • Black lesions on the nose or upper side of the mouth
  • Chest pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Difficulty in chewing or opening the mouth
What is yellow fungus?

Unlike black fungus, this infection starts to manifest itself internally before exhibiting physical or bodily symptoms. Unsanitary conditions, contaminated food and exposure to unhygienic medical equipment/tools are causing this variant of the infection. Just like black fungus, overuse of steroids and antibacterial medications is also leading to yellow fungus cases and harming patients with comorbidities or who are on immuno-suppressants.

The symptoms first start internally, causing pus leakage, organ failure and acute necrosis in some cases. Once the infection onsets, patients may experience:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Redness and sunken eyes
  • The onset of white fungus
The onset of white fungus

White fungus or ‘aspergillosis’ affects people with low immunity and comorbidities such as diabetes. Overuse of steroids is also a factor in the onset of this infection. Unlike yellow and black fungus, this variant affects various parts of the body such as the nail bed, skin, stomach, kidney, brain and reproductive organs.

balayam yoga
White fungus impacts your nail beds and skin, as well as other organs. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The most common symptoms are:

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  • Whitening of tongue
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dark spots on the lungs
  • Reduced oxygen levels
  • Prevention tips for fungal infections
Prevention tips for fungal infections

As per Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS Delhi, these infections are not communicable or contagious. However, certain tips can be considered to prevent its onset:

  1. Judicious use of steroids and monitoring blood sugar levels among COVID-19 patients can help manage the infection(s).
  2. Keeping your surroundings clean and removing stale food and faecal matter can avoid transmission through bacteria and fungal growth.
  3. Keep a check on the humidity levels in your surrounding because excessive humidity promotes bacterial growth.

So, stay aware of health changes occurring due to the Covid-19 infection and keep in touch with a doctor.


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About the Author

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book. ...Read More

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