The solution to bad body odor is a good shower, not an expensive perfume

June 9, 2021 0 By FM

Why is there a sudden surge of mucormycosis among COVID-19 patients only in India? It is time for a retrospection as this is the culmination of the many mistakes that healthcare providers did not give much attention to while delivering care. The first mistake or reason for this is the completely unhygienic and dirty way of delivering oxygen to patients in many places in India, combined with the indiscriminate use of steroids in the treatment of COVID.

Typically, medical oxygen (as opposed to industrial oxygen) is a highly purified version that is more than 99.5 percent. It is purified through repeated steps of compression, filtration and purification. Even the cylinders in which the liquid oxygen is stored, transported and used are also rigorously cleaned and disinfected. But it is very important to note that when it is administered to patients at high flow, it requires humidification. This is done by passing it through a container filled with sterile water. The water itself must be sterilized and changed frequently as per protocol. If the water is not sterile, it is potentially a source of black fungus infection! On the other hand, if oxygen is given without humidification, it will dry the mucous membrane and damage the inner lining of the lungs. It will also make the sputum or secretion very thick to clear out. Both of these have created havoc among patients.

While, the use of steroids in the treatment of COVID-19 has to happen at the right time. Steroids are only effective to fight the effects of COVID, not the virus directly. It is dangerous and harmful if given early when the virus is replicating. This will reduce the body’s immunity and facilitate further replication of viruses. Giving steroids unnecessarily or too early to a diabetic patient will raise their sugar level, predisposing them to further risk of an increase in severity of COVID-19 as well as predisposing them to the ill-effects of black fungus.

And the third mistake that we are potentially committing now is even more critical. While it is a good initiative to ramp up the production of medicine (Amphotericin B) to treat black fungus, we must understand that this disease kills between 46-96 percent of people it infects. Moreover, the bitter truth is that Amphotericin B is very toxic.

So the real solution is to enforce quality control in every step, including oxygen production, storage and delivery, as well as to stop the indiscriminate use of steroids to address this new enemy.

The solution to bad body odor is a good shower, not an expensive perfume.

— Article Courtesy: HT Online


Author is Vice chairman and managing director, chief consultant for Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery at the Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai.