Valley fever isn’t a common condition, but the bacteria that causes it does live in the soil around Las Vegas, Nevada, and infection can sometimes cause unpleasant complications. At Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic, Alka Rebentish, MD, and Chukwudum Uche, MD, FIDSA, FACP, offer expert diagnosis and effective treatment options for serious cases of valley fever. Call the Las Vegas clinic today to book an in-person or telehealth appointment, or schedule a consultation using the online tool.
Valley fever is a disease caused by a coccidioides fungus infection. There are two species of these fungi that cause valley fever. The organisms live in the soil in certain regions, where the wind or activities like farming and construction spread the spores into the air.
If you breathe in these airborne fungi, you can develop acute coccidioidomycosis or valley fever. Mild cases of this disease often go away without treatment. If the infection is severe or becomes chronic, you might need to take antifungal medications.
You might have few or even no symptoms when you first contract valley fever. Between 1-3 weeks later, you could develop symptoms such as:
Valley fever sometimes causes a painful, bumpy, red rash that usually affects your lower legs but can appear on your chest, back, and arms. The rash might resemble pimples.
Some people who get valley fever recover without a problem, but in other cases, it can take months to recover, especially with a severe infection.
The two more serious types of infection – chronic and disseminated coccidioidomycosis – can cause complications.
If you don’t make a full recovery from valley fever, you might develop chronic pneumonia. This typically happens in people with weakened immune systems, causing symptoms such as:
Disseminated coccidioidomycosis is the most severe form of the disease. It develops when the infection spreads from your lungs to other places such as your brain, skin, bones, liver, heart, and the meninges (membranes protecting your brain and spinal cord).
In most cases, you won’t require treatment for valley fever. The best way to deal with the illness is to treat it like a cold – get adequate rest and drink lots of fluids.
A specialist at the Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic does need to monitor your condition, though, in case it develops into a more severe form of infection.
Antifungal medications might be necessary if you’re at risk of developing complications, or you have the chronic or disseminated forms of the disease. The most severe cases require treatment with intravenous antifungal medication.
Some people develop immunity to valley fever following their recovery, but others find the disease reactivates, or you could get reinfected if you have a compromised immune system.
Find out more about valley fever and how to treat it by calling Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic today or booking an appointment online.