Click the cards below to reveal facts about Valley fever.
Don't have symptoms
Might not even know they have (or had) 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
Get disseminated disease, where the Valley fever fungus spreads to other parts of the body
May need treatment for the rest of their lives
Note: Valley fever and COVID-19 share many of the same symptoms, including fever, cough, fatigue, and body aches. If you are experiencing these symptoms, isolate yourself from others and contact your healthcare provider immediately. Laboratory tests are needed to know whether symptoms are caused by COVID-19 or Valley fever. Usually, Valley fever is diagnosed using a blood test, but the lab test for COVID-19 uses a respiratory sample from your nose or throat.
Not everyone needs to be tested or treated for Valley fever. 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 some Valley fever symptoms are like
those of COVID-19 (see above) and 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.