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Valley Fever/Coccidioidomycosis--Five Questions You Should Clarify With Your Doctor

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If you have been diagnosed with valley fever, you may wish to go over the following five questions with your physician:

1. Though my report says Primary Pulmonary Coccidioidomycosis, it is being referred to as valley fever by medical staff. Is everybody here on the same page?

Valley fever gets its name because of its prevalence in specific geographical areas of the North, Central and South American continents. Though it is also popularly known as desert fever, San Joaquin Valley fever, or California Valley Fever, you will be diagnosed with a condition called Coccidioidomycosis if you were to go to a hospital – it’s the technical medical term. Cases of Coccidioidomycosis are fairly common in the planting, harvesting and post-rain seasons in Arizona, Texas, Utah, California, Nevada, etc.

At a basic level, it is a fungal disease caused by Coccidioides immitus and Coccidioides posadasii. There are basically three types of this condition and tests prove which of the three forms a person is infected with. The forms are Primary Pulmonary Coccidioidomycosis (PPC), Primary Cutaneous Coccidioidomycosis (PCC) and Disseminated Coccidioidomycosis (DC).

2. Besides the fever, chest pain and enlarged nymph nodes I am experiencing, what else could I be looking at until I recover?
Other common symptoms of valley fever are:
• Cough
• Headaches
• Chills
• Appetite loss
• Joint and muscle stiffness
• Altered mental state
• Photo-sensitivity
• Joint swelling
• Rashes and skin eruptions
• Sweating
• Wheezing
• Blood stained sputum
• Body ache and stiffness

3. Am I part of the risk group where the outlook looks bleak?
You will be a part of this risk group if you work in the fields (as both the fungi types reside in soil), at construction sites, at archaeological excavators or are military field training personnel. It is also common amongst those with a weakened immune system such as pregnant women, AIDS patients, etc. Certain races such as Filipino, African and Native Americans are susceptible to the disease as well.

4. What is Disseminated Coccidioimycsis?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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