Valley Fever

Learning what causes valley fever

Valley fever is an illness caused by coccidiomycosis, a fungus that resides in deserts and valleys, mostly in the soil. The illness is generally mild, but can present with complications, and so it is very important to treat your child for valley fever if he or she presents with it. This disease is endemic, or prevalent, in certain parts of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and northwestern Mexico.

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What causes valley fever?

Valley fever is generally caused by airborne spores of the fungus that break off and fly through the air during the rainy seasons in the Southern United States and Mexico. When these spores are breathed in, a fungal infection takes up residence in the lungs, causing the illness. People of different nationalities tend to present with valley fever more often than Caucasians; people of Filipino, African, Native American, Hispanic, and Asian descent tend to present with the disease more.

Symptoms of valley fever

Symptoms of valley fever are generally mild. They include flu-like symptoms of a fever, body aches, cough, and respiratory illness. While most patients recover, some experience recurrent pulmonary illness and require thorough treatment to heal from the illness. Valley fever does not just strike humans; often it also will strike animals, making this quite a serious disease. Valley fever symptoms may also include body aches and general malaise. It can be quite a debilitating disease.

Valley fever medication and treatment

Valley fever is treated generally by antifungals if the disease is bad; normal, mild cases of valley fever are generally not treated as they will go away on their own. Over the counter medications may be given to combat cough and fever, and lots of fluid and rest will help the disease go away faster. Knowing when valley fever is due to strike may also help people avoid and prevent the illness. Complications of valley fever may require hospitalization and aggressive treatment to treat pulmonary disease and symptoms. Sometimes, medications like Tamiflu may help with the onset of the disease, but normally, it must run its course.