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Valley fever is arriving

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Yes, valley fever is arriving near you.

What is valley fever?

The Mayo Clinic says valley fever is a fungal infection caused by coccidioides, which is pronounced (kok-sid-e-OY-deze). As it name infer it can cause a fever, plus chest pain and coughing.

There are two species of coccidioides fungi that cause valley fever. These fungi are normally found in the soil in certain geographical areas, which can be stirred into the air by wind or anything that disrupts the soil such as farming or construction. The fungi can then enter the lungs and cause valley fever, which is acute coccidioidomycosis (kok-sid-e-oy-doh-my-KOH-sis).

Most cases are mild and usually end on their own, but in the more severe cases doctors must prescribe anti-fungal medications as treatment.

Unfortunately it can be misdiagnosed. I and a friend fell ill during a visit to Scottsdale, Arizona. We were told by locales that we had valley fever. During the drive back to Albuquerque my friend symptoms reminded me of pneumonia. It was difficult to do all the driving, but we made it back without my falling asleep at the wheel. The doctor who took care of my friend had never heard of valley fever, fortunately mine had. I recovered without any treatment except for rest while my friend seemed close to death, but finally received the correct care for valley fever.

Due to 'global chaos' valley fever has arrived in New Mexico. Know the symptoms and demand that your doctor check for a fungal infection if treatment for pneumonia brings no results.

Stay healthy.

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