Valley fever occurs in the body due to the Coccidioides fungus that enters through respiratory organs. This fungus can be inhaled in some parts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, as its endemic to the soil of these regions. It doesn’t pose too much of a threat since it usually goes away in about a week or two. However, sometimes the body is incapable of killing the pathogenic fungus for one reason or another, such as a general lack of immunity or pregnancy. In such cases, valley fever can be deadly. Learn the symptoms of valley fever so that you can detect the issue early, avoiding more severe complications.
As the fungus enters the body and the lymph nodes begin working much harder to eradicate it, the entire body increases its activity at least twofold. This change results in tiredness, even if you feel you’ve gotten an adequate amount of sleep. The symptom gradually gets worse as the disease progresses. If you find yourself completely lacking energy no matter what you do, you may be having trouble fighting off the fever. At this point, you should speak to a specialist.
As the battle with the disease takes place and the whole body becomes inhabited by a foreign intruder, it begins using up all its resources to defend itself. Because of this, you'll get a fever, accompanied by weariness and overall weakness. You’ll have a temperature as long as your body is fighting off the fungus, but it should go away a day or two after you’ve fended off valley fever.
Because you’re sick, your body will redirect resources to help fight off the temperature. This can result in gradual weight loss and weakness. While weight loss isn’t necessarily a sign of valley fever, if you find yourself losing weight unexpectedly despite what you eat, you may want to speak to your physician.
As the fungus spreads through your body, it may impact your heart and cause chest pain. Because your body perceives the fungus as extremely invasive, you may find yourself experiencing chest pain throughout your infection. If your chest pain is extremely bad or very frequent, you should contact your doctor for a consultation immediately.
The signature symptom of valley fever is the rashes that sometimes accompany it. They are painful red bumps anywhere on the skin, which may later turn brown and remain just as painful. While the entire body is susceptible to the appearance of these rashes, they most commonly occur on the lower leg. Sometimes the rash can be raised and extremely red, with blister-like eruptions like pimples.
Since the fungus enters the lungs before any other organ, the lungs will become and stay inflamed for as long as the fungus is present. This inflammation, before anything, is manifested by coughing, and the symptom only gets worse over the following weeks. Antibiotics meant for coughing will destroy part of the disease, but to fully remedy valley fever, you should also take specific medication prescribed by your doctor.
Chronic pneumonia is known as stage two of valley fever (chronic coccidioidomycosis), and it occurs when nothing has been done to treat the disease. If your body is unable to defeat the illness on its own, you’ll have an escalation of symptoms that will be increasingly unpleasant.
The symptoms of the fungus become reoccurring, while pneumonia that accompanies it remains constant and unrelenting. Extremely intense coughing that often results in vomiting is a frequent part of the symptom. If you find yourself in this state, you should contact a specialist.
Due to the intensity of coughing that comes with chronic pneumonia, and the destructive impact of fungus on the lungs, blood will frequently accompany a strong cough. While bloody sputum can be a sign of something much more severe, valley fever is relatively easy to treat. If you notice blood coming up during a cough, you need to speak to your physician.
In stage three of valley fever, which is also known as disseminated coccidioidomycosis, the disease has reached its most potentially fatal form. This notion means that the infection has now spread its source all around the body, and treatment has become much harder. A typical stage three symptom is lung nodules. These are growths of tissue in the lungs that cause discomfort, and although they don’t necessarily bleed, they can sometimes be cancerous.
When valley fever manages to spread around different organs, it causes discomfort to those specific areas as well, manifested as diseases related to that body part. If valley fever reaches the brain at some point, it will most definitely result in meningitis, a potentially lethal brain inflammation. During meningitis, the membranes and fluid surrounding the spinal cord and the brain itself becomes infected, resulting in all kinds of severe symptoms, such as confusion, severe muscle pain, blotchy skin, vomiting, drowsiness, light hypersensitivity and sometimes convulsions.
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