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Valley Fever

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis, is an infection caused by a fungus. You can get the infection if you breathe in the fungus germs. The germs are found in soil and dust in parts of the United States, Mexico, Central and South America. In the United States, most cases of valley fever occur in California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have severe chest pain.
  • You have trouble breathing or your breathing seems faster and more shallow than usual.
  • You are confused or sleepy.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your lips or nails turn blue.
  • You cough up blood.
  • You have a headache, a stiff neck, and a fever.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms do not improve within 2 months.
  • You have night sweats for longer than 3 weeks.
  • You lose more than 10% of your weight.
  • You cannot work because of your symptoms.
  • Your lymph nodes are swollen.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

Your symptoms usually go away on their own. It may take up to 2 months for your symptoms go away. You may need any of the following:

  • 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.
  • Cough medicine may help soothe your throat and decrease your urge to cough.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.

Self-care:

  • Rest as directed. Slowly start to do more each day.
  • Drink liquids as directed to help prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for you to breathe and help decrease your cough.
  • Record the color and amount of sputum you cough up. Bring this record to your follow-up visits.

Prevent valley fever:

  • Cover your nose and mouth. Use masks or cloths to cover your nose and mouth while working in the soil.
  • Wash your hands after you handle plants and soil. 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.
    Handwashing

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

You may need to return for regular follow-up visits. You may be referred to a lung or infectious disease specialist. 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.

Learn more about Valley Fever (Aftercare Instructions)

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

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