Worried About Valley Fever? Find Out If You Are At Risk
Valley fever is an infection, usually of the lungs, caused by the fungus, Coccidioides immitis. This fungus is found in the dry soil of the areas in the southwest United States as well as areas in northwestern Mexico. Valley fever is contracted when the spores become airborne and a person breathes them in. The states where Valley Fever is commonly diagnosed include Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico, with other nearby states reporting exposure, as well.
Valley fever can be hard to detect, as many people can be exposed but have no symptoms. Other people may show mild symptoms, similar to a cold, that go away without treatment. Yet others may develop flu-like symptoms that can last for weeks or even months, with some cases becoming severe, leading to chronic pneumonia or spreading even further beyond the lungs and leading to meningitis.
Those at highest risk are people living in the affected areas mentioned above, who are also:
- Over the age of 60
- African American or Asian
- Pregnant – especially women in their third trimester
- Those with weakened immune systems
Fortunately, valley fever is not spread from person to person, but it is often misdiagnosed, as it can show itself in so many ways. If you develop persistent flu-like symptoms and live in an area where the fungus is found, or have traveled to one of these locations, ask your physician to test you for valley fever (also known as cocci). General treatment includes a prescription antifungal drug. Most of the time no specific treatment is needed, just plenty of rest. As a way to counteract fungal infections such as valley fever, I suggest eating one or two cloves of raw garlic daily. Garlic has antibiotic and antifungal properties – make it more palatable by finely chopping and mixing it with food or cut one clove into capsule-sized chunks and swallow like you would whole like pills.
Prevention would also involve a solid lifestyle focus dedicated to good health. Following my Anti-Inflammatory Diet ensures the best health for trying to prevent infections like valley fever from compromising your health.
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