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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.



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 your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

  • 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.

Call your doctor 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. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. 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. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider 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.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

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.

Prevent the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, change a child's diaper, and before you prepare or eat food. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
  • Cover a sneeze or cough. Use a tissue that covers your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
  • Stay away from others while you are sick. Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Ask about vaccines you may need. Talk to your healthcare provider about your vaccine history. He or she will tell you which vaccines you need, and when to get them.
    • Get the influenza (flu) vaccine as soon as recommended each year. The flu vaccine is usually available starting in September or October. Flu viruses change, so it is important to get a flu vaccine every year.
    • Get the pneumonia vaccine if recommended. This vaccine is usually recommended every 5 years. Your provider will tell you when to get this vaccine, if needed.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

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

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.