Valley Fever, also known as Coccidioidomycosis, is a fungal infection caused by the inhalation of spores of the soil-dwelling fungus Coccidioides. It is commonly found in arid regions of the southwestern United States, Central America, and parts of South America. Valley fever is a respiratory illness that can range from mild to severe, with symptoms that can mimic the flu, including fever, cough, fatigue, and muscle aches. In some cases, the fungus can spread to other parts of the body and cause more serious health problems, such as joint and bone infections, skin lesions, and meningitis. People with weakened immune systems and those who live or work in areas where the fungus is prevalent are at a higher risk of contracting Valley Fever. Continue reading to know more about valley fever symptoms and how is Valley fever transmitted.
How is Valley fever transmitted?
Valley fever is caused by two types of fungus which grows in the soil in certain parts of the United States, they are Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii. The fungus present in the soil will reciprocate itself in the air when there is any disruption in the soil like during drilling and construction.
Symptoms of Valley fever
Valley fever usually occurs without any symptoms and in many cases it fades away on its own. Below listed are few commonly reported symptoms of Valley fever.
- High temperature
- Night sweats
- Muscle pain and joint aches
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
In some cases, the infection can become worse and can turn into chronic pulmonary coccidioidomycosis. This attacks the lungs and shows symptoms that are similar to tuberculosis. Listed below are some of the commonly reported symptoms of chronic pulmonary coccidioidomycosis.
- Bleeding while coughing
- Chronic cough
- Weight loss
- Pain in the chest
- Trouble breathing
Valley fever complications
Though valley fever complications are rare, the complications include pneumonia, pleural effusion (leaking of pus or fluid in lungs), Acute respiratory distress syndrome (building up of fluids in the small air sacs in the lungs), disseminated coccidioidomycosis. Disseminated coccidioidomycosis is one of the most serious complications of Valley fever. This is because the fungus attacks the other parts of the body such as joints, liver, pancreas, skin, kidneys, brain, and bones.
Can you catch Valley fever from another person?
Is Valley fever contagious? The answer is no! Valley fever cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
Is valley fever curable?
Yes, itr is curable and there is only 1% of possibility to die from Valley fever. It needs to be treated at the right time with proper medications. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body including the brain and can become fatal.
How to prevent Valley fever?
Though Valley fever can attack normal people, it can be severe in people with weak immune systems, pregnant ladies, and diabetes patients. Below listed are some of the easy ways to prevent Valley fever.
- Avoiding exposure to dust, especially during activities such as digging or construction, and wearing a mask in dusty conditions.
- Staying indoors during dust storms.
- Washing hands and clothes regularly if exposure to dust is unavoidable.
- Keeping windows closed and using air conditioning to filter dust.
- Using insect repellent to prevent bites from insects that can carry fungal spores.
It is important to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms such as fever, cough, and chest pain after exposure to dust. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications.