Valley fever is brought about by mold that thrives in the soil in the central valley of California as well as in the deserts of southwest US and northwest Mexico. The condition typically involves the lungs but can also affect other body parts.
An individual can end up infected by inhaling the fungus while working, camping or digging in the desert. The fungus can also infect an individual if exposed to desert winds or blown into the area where one lives. Remember that it cannot spread from one individual to another or via contact with an infected animal.
What are the signs?
Almost half of individuals who were exposed to the cocci fungus do not have any symptoms since the immune system was able to fight it off. In some cases, it can trigger mild flu-like illness with symptoms are manifest 1-2 weeks after being exposed to the fungus.
The usual symptoms include:
Management of valley fever
Generally, treatment is not needed for valley fever. If treatment is necessary, the doctor will prescribe medications to eliminate the fungus. The drug is taken for a month up to a year depending on the capability of the body to fight the infection.
In serious cases, hospitalization is necessary which involves intravenous medications or given directly into the spinal column. These medications might be given for several months.
A cocci infection can be avoided by protection against the soil. When working, camping or digging, use a surgical mask or bandana that covers the mouth and nose to avoid inhaling the fungus.