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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is histoplasmosis?

Histoplasmosis 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.

What increases my risk for histoplasmosis?

You may be at risk for histoplasmosis if you live in an area where the fungus is common. This includes the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri river valleys. Your risk for histoplasmosis may also increase if you work with soil. Examples include farmers, landscapers, construction workers, and geologists. Older adults and people with a weak immune system are also at risk for histoplasmosis.

What are the signs and symptoms of histoplasmosis?

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:

How is histoplasmosis diagnosed?

How is histoplasmosis treated?

Most people do not need treatment for histoplasmosis. You may need medicine to decrease fever, pain, or swelling. You may need antifungal medicine if you have a weak immune system or lung disease. If your infection is severe you may need monitoring and treatment in the hospital.

Treatment options

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

View more treatment options

What are the risks of histoplasmosis?

Histoplasmosis may be more serious in older adults and anyone with lung disease such as COPD. The infection may cause serious breathing problems. It may also spread to other places in your body.

How do I 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.

What can I do to prevent the spread of germs?

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

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

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