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Valley fever is a fungus infection which usually affects the lungs. When it affects other parts of the body, it is called disseminated valley fever. HIV infection, as well as medical advances like chemotherapy and organ transplants, cripple the immune system and weaken resistance to fungus infections.

Anyone can develop valley fever. It is called valley fever because the organism that causes it is commonly found in the soil of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. In severe cases, it can cause death.

Who is at risk?
Anyone can get valley fever, but people who engage in activities that disturb the soil are at increased risk. They include:

  • African-Americans
  • Archaeologists
  • Asians
  • Construction workers
  • Elderly persons
  • Farmers
  • Military personnel
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Women in the third trimester of pregnancy

The Alternative name for Valley fever is coccidioidomycosis usually called as Cocci.

Causes of Valley Fever
It is impossible to avoid the assimilation of the spore…but not impossible to support the body against it!

  • It lives in soil and is spread via inhalation of airborne spores.
  • The disease is not spread from person to person.
  • The fungus that causes valley fever is commonly found in the soil of the
  • Southwestern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America.
  • It is carried by dust particles
  • It is caused by the fungus called Coccidioides immitis.
  • It is not spread from person to person.
  • It is spread through the air.
  • When people breathe in the spores, they can develop valley fever.

Signs & Symptoms of Valley Fever
Most of the infected persons have no symptoms. Sometimes few people develop flu-like symptoms that can last for a month. If left untreated valley fever can lead to severe pneumonia, meningitis, and even death. In most cases, symptoms are not appears but the most common symptoms of valley fever are:

  • Aching joints or lameness
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headaches
  • Inability to focus and concentrate
  • Joint pain, stiffness & swelling
  • Leg/ankle/foot swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches and pains & stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Neck stiffness
  • Night sweating
  • Photosensitivity
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin rashes
  • Slight cold
  • Sweats
  • Vision problems
  • Weight loss

Diagnosis of Valley fever
Blood Test: Valley fever is diagnosed through blood tests only; there is no other way of diagnosing valley fever.

Preventions of Valley Fever
Valley fever is on the rise because of the growing number of pet owners moving to areas where the disease is common. Recent natural disasters have also triggered a rise in Valley Fever cases. Currently, there is no vaccine against valley fever. Persons or animals should avoid exposure to dust and dry soil in areas where this disease is common.

Treatments of Valley Fever
There is no vaccine at this time for Valley Fever but it can be treated with fungus-killing medicines.

  • Anti-fungal drugs: The persons who seek medical advice, the health care providers use antifungal drugs. The anti-fungal drugs should not be associated with antibiotics.
  • Surgery: If a lung cavity ruptures is found then surgery may be necessary.
  • No Treatment: Most people are able to fight off Valley Fever on their own without treatment. They don't get it again.

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