Fact Check: Can Excess Steaming Cause Black Fungus?
With cases of the deadly mucormycosis or black fungus increasing in parts of the country, here is a new revelation. It can be caused due to improper and excess steam inhalation.
Can steaming lead to black fungus?
The short answer – yes.
Mucormycosis spores are a common mold that are found everywhere in soil, air and even in food, and they thrive in humid and moist environments. The virulence is however low and hence they don’t cause infection. Now, the cases have risen due to increased steroids-use and humidified oxygen, according to AIIMs chief Randeep Guleria.
Contaminated water used in steamers can be a cause too. Dr Amit Thadhani, Director at Niramaya Hospitals in Mumbai, told Hindustan Times that doing excessive and improper steaming at home can cause mucormycosis. He said steamers have to be thoroughly washed and disinfected every day else the microscopic mold can transmit to the person using it. He also advised avoiding excess use.
Similarly, Dr Rommel Tickoo, Director, Internal Medicine at Max Healthcare, pointed out that there is too much importance being given to steaming, and there is actually no concrete evidence that it helps. It is harmless if the water and container are not contaminated, he added.
The first recorded case of black fungus recently in Odisha was of a man using an air cooler with stale water. Experts recommend changing water of coolers every day and disinfecting them.
Black fungus can lead to the removal of eyeball, nose, and if the fungal infection reaches the brain, the mortality rate is much higher.