Skip to Content




is a fungal infection of your lungs. It is caused by breathing in soil that is infected with fungus. The fungus is most commonly found in soil that contains bird and bat droppings.

Common signs and symptoms:

Most people do not have signs or symptoms. A mild infection may cause fever, chills, muscle aches, or fatigue. You may also have headaches, chest pain, and a dry cough. Symptoms may last 2 to 4 weeks. A severe infection may cause any of the following:

  • A cough with bloody or thick yellow sputum
  • Night sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • A rash
  • Weight loss

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have a seizure.
  • You have trouble breathing.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are confused or cannot think clearly.
  • You cough up blood or thick, yellow, sputum.
  • Your heart is beating faster than usual.
  • You have a severe headache and a stiff neck.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms get worse or do not get better in 2 weeks.
  • You have a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for histoplasmosis:

Most people do not need treatment for histoplasmosis. Treatment may be needed if you have a weak immune system or lung disease. You may need any of the following to help treat or manage symptoms:

  • Antifungals help treat an infection caused by fungus.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Rest as directed:

You may need to avoid strenuous activities such as sports and running until your symptoms are gone. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your normal activities.

Drink plenty of liquids:

Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids can help you recover and prevent dehydration.

Prevent another histoplasmosis infection:

Stay away from places where the fungus grows. This includes caves, barns, chicken coops, and under bridges. It also includes chimneys and attics. If you must work in these areas, wear a mask over your mouth and nose. Wet the soil with water before you work with it. This will decrease your risk for breathing in soil. If you have a weak immune system, you may need to take antifungal medicine to prevent another infection.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.