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Valley Fever

Valley Fever Diagnosis and Outcomes


Did you know...?

Click the cards below to reveal some surprising facts about Valley fever.

Most people with valley fever

Most people

(about 6 in 10)

with Valley fever...

  • Don't have symptoms

  • Might not even know they have (or had) Valley fever

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Most people with valley fever

Some people

(about 1 in 6)

with Valley fever...

  • Develop symptoms 1-3 weeks after breathing in dust

  • Have symptoms that can last a month or more (but will usually get better without treatment)

  • May need treatment, but a doctor will determine what’s best

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in rare cases

In rare cases, few people

(about 1 in 100)

with Valley fever...

  • Get disseminated disease, where the Valley fever fungus spreads to other parts of the body

  • May need treatment for the rest of their lives

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Valley Fever Diagnosis

Not everyone needs to be tested or treated for Valley fever. Some people might not even know they have Valley fever because they’ve never had symptoms. People who do get sick with Valley fever may have symptoms like cough, fever, difficulty breathing, and fatigue that go away without any treatment. If you have symptoms of Valley fever that last longer than a week, talk to a doctor or healthcare provider.

There are no over-the-counter medications to treat Valley fever. Since Valley fever symptoms are like those of other common illnesses, a doctor may order different tests (such as a blood test or chest x-ray) to help determine if you have Valley fever. If you are diagnosed with Valley fever, your doctor will determine if you need treatment or not.

There are medications to treat Valley fever called “antifungals”, but not everyone needs them. Some people may need to take antifungal medication for months or even years if they have severe disease or certain health conditions that weaken the immune system. People who may need antifungals include:

  • people with severe disease

  • people who take medications that weaken the immune system

  • people who have cancer

  • people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

  • people who have had an organ transplant

  • pregnant women

Remember:

Valley fever can affect people in different ways.

  • Not everyone needs to be tested or treated for Valley fever.

  • Talk to a healthcare provider if you have symptoms of Valley fever that last longer than a week.

  • Your healthcare provider will determine if you need treatment or not.

Your doctor will consider many factors

Your doctor will consider many factors when deciding if you need testing or treatment. Your doctor may also recommend that you see a specialist. Early detection is important, so if you have questions or think you may have Valley fever, talk to a doctor.

Outcomes

  • Outcome

    Most people who have Valley fever will make a full recovery and won’t get sick from it again. Many Valley fever symptoms can go away within a few weeks. Some symptoms, especially fatigue, can take longer to go away and can sometimes last for several months.

  • Outcome

    A small percentage of people develop long-term infections in the lungs or other parts of the body, such as in the bones or joints. In rare cases of disseminated disease, where the Valley fever fungus spreads outside of the lungs to other parts of the body (like the brain), a person may need to be treated with medication for the rest of their life. Severe Valley fever can be fatal, but this is rare.

  • Outcome

    If a person has already had Valley fever, their immune system will most likely protect them from getting sick from it again. Although it is rare, some people who have already had Valley fever could get sick again if their immune system weakens because of certain medical conditions (such as cancer) or by taking certain medications, like those for cancer, organ transplant, or autoimmune disease.

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