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Valley fever

Valley Fever Awareness & Outreach Toolkit

About this Toolkit

This toolkit was developed for local health departments and other local health partners in California to use in their planning and outreach efforts to raise awareness about Valley fever. Digital resources in this toolkit can be downloaded and shared with community-based organizations, other local partners, and members of the public. 

​CDPH Material Co-brand Disclaimer 
Local health jurisdictions (LHJs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) may co-brand materials created by CDPH (those in CDPH Office of Communications Toolkits) by adding their agency logo next to or near the CDPH logo. Be sure there is ample space between the two logos. Materials may not be altered or edited in any other way, including removal or adjustment of the CDPH logo.​

Why is Valley fever awareness important?

The number of reported Valley fever cases in California has greatly increased in recent years, and we are learning that drought and other factors increase the number of new Valley fever cases in our state​. Valley fever can be serious for some people, and symptoms can last weeks or months, causing people to miss work, school, or activities they enjoy. Because Valley fever can be serious, it is important that people become more aware of this disease, especially those in communities where Valley fever is common and in groups at risk for severe disease.​  

The California Department of Public Health has developed resources to equip local agencies with key messaging to help expand Valley fever awareness and educate communities about symptoms, groups at risk, and potential disease outcomes for Valley fever. These resources include tips on how to engage local partners and incorporate Valley fever information into outreach activities and conversations with community partners. 

Key Times for Awareness and Outreach

There are key times and seasons within a given year when Valley fever awareness and outreach is important. There are also key times from year to year when awareness is important because of certain environmental factors that can cause an increase in Valley fever cases over time. Research shows that rainy winters and hot summers that come after a drought in California are associated with an increase in new Valley fever cases starting in the fall and lasting into the following year.


flower

Spring – Engage local partners and plan for outreach efforts and awareness events before peak Valley fever season begins in the summer and fall.


sun

Summer – Many people in California are infected by the Valley fever fungus during this drier, dustier time of year.

  • Share messaging about Valley fever and how people get infected
  • Encourage practical tips for prevention
    • June – Beginning of summer
      Suggested activities:
      • Incorporate information about Valley fever risk into air quality alerts, especially on windy and dusty days
      • Encourage dust control practices and the proper use of N95 masks if engaging in dusty work outdoors

      August – Valley Fever Awareness Month
      Suggested activities:
      • Issue a news release and engage local media
      • Share social media messages
      • Host a community forum or outreach event to help raise awareness

leaf

Fall (specifically September through November) – Most cases of Valley fever in California are diagnosed during this time.


Resources & Tools in the Toolkit 

  • Partner Engagement and Outreach Plan (PDF) 
      • Includes recommendations for partnering with local organizations about Valley fever awareness and contains a sample community forum agenda (for local agency use)

  • One Sheet (PDF)
      • One-page overview of Valley fever to share with local organizations and partners (for local agency use)

  • Talking Points (PDF)
      • Bulleted facts and ready-to-use key messages about Valley fever (for local agency use) 

  • Q&A (PDF)
      • Answers to common questions and misconceptions about Valley fever (for local agency and public use)

  • News Release Template (.DOCX)
      • Sample Valley fever awareness news release with space for adding local agency information
        (for local agency use)

  • Educational Resources for the Public
  • Radio PSAs
      • 30-second audio clips for radio ads

        • Valley Fever :30 PSA - “Feels Like” (MP3)​​ English | Spanish
        • Valley Fever :30 PSA - “What Grows” (MP3)​​ English | Spanish
        • Valley Fever :30 PSA - “We Hear / Tripled” (MP3)​​ English | Spanish
        • Valley Fever :30 PSA - “We Hear / Pets” (MP3)​​ English | Spanish
        • Valley Fever :30 PSA - “We Hear / In My Brain” (MP3)​​ English | Spanish

  • ​​Animated Video  “Could Be Valley Fever” | “Quizas Fiebre del Valle” (YouTube)
      • 60-second video in English and Spanish 

  • Graphics (see below)
      • Transmission and prevention graphics for digital ads, web links, or social media (graphics may be co-branded with local agency information)​

  • Social Media Messaging (see below)
      • Messages and graphics for use on social media platforms, especially during Valley Fever Awareness Month in August and Fungal Disease Awareness Week in September

Graphics & Social Media Messaging

Click an image to view and download (right-click and select “Save image as”)

Transmission: How People Get Infecte​​d

Valley fever ("cocci") infection. The Valley fever fungus grows in the dirt. Spores get into the air when dust is stirred up.

English | Hmong | Spanish | Tagalog 


Prevention: Reduce Dust

Suggested Message: 

Outdoor dust in certain parts of California can expose people (and pets) to the fungus that causes Valley fever. People who live, work, or travel in the Central Valley and Central Coast regions of California should take care to avoid breathing outdoor dust by wetting down soil before digging and wearing an N95 mask if necessary to be outdoors in dusty air. Learn tips to help prevent Valley fever: https://bit.ly/VFPreventionTips



​​Social Media — Valley Fever Awareness

Valley fever is on the rise in California. Dusty road landscape.
Valley fever is on the rise in California. Dusty field landscape.

​Suggested messa​​​ges: 

  • ​Cases of Valley fever in California nearly tripled from 2015 to 2019. Get prevention tips and learn more about #ValleyFever and where it is most common: https://bit.ly/VFBasics

  • Valley fever cases in California increase after a rainy winter that follows a drought. #ValleyFever can cause lasting symptoms such as fever, cough, and tiredness. Learn practical tips for prevention: https://bit.ly/VFPreventionTips​​

  • ​In certain parts of California, breathing in dust or dirt outdoors can increase your risk of getting Valley fever, a disease caused by a fungus that lives in the dirt in parts of the state. Learn more about #ValleyFever and where it is most common: 
    https://www.cdph.ca.gov/ValleyFever


​​Valley fever is on the rise in California. Dark clouds over dry area.

​Suggested ​message: ​

Rainy weather following a drought creates the right conditions for the Valley fever fungus to thrive. Valley fever can cause cough, fever, and tiredness that can last for weeks. Protect yourself from dust and dirt in outdoor air that can cause #ValleyFever. In areas where Valley fever is common, stay indoors during windy and dusty days, and wet down soil before digging. Learn more: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/ValleyFever​​

Valley fever could be in the dirt and dust. Shovels in dirt.

​Suggested message: 

Valley fever is caused by breathing in dust that contains spores of a fungus. In areas where Valley fever is common, wet down dirt before digging to help reduce dust. Learn more prevention tips and where in California #ValleyFever is common: www.CouldBeValleyFever.org

#ValleyFeverAwareness

Valley fever could be in the dirt and dust. Person riding motorcycle in dusty area.

​Suggested mes​​​sage: 

​​With summer comes drier, dusty days in California. In certain parts of the state, breathing in dust or dirt outdoors can increase your risk of getting #ValleyFever, a disease caused by a fungus that lives in the dirt in parts of California. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and tiredness that last for weeks. Learn more about Valley fever and where it is most common: https://bit.ly/VFBasics​​​


Valley fever could be in the dirt and dust where you work. Construction worker wearing respirator.

Suggested messages: ​

  • #ValleyFever is caused by a fungus found in soil in parts of California. People who work outdoors in these areas are at risk if they dig or disturb soil or work in windy conditions. Reduce your risk by wetting down soil before digging and using a NIOSH-approved respirator when working in dusty areas. Learn more: https://bit.ly/VfAtWork
  • ​People who work outdoors are at risk for #ValleyFever if they work in dusty conditions in certain parts of California. Reduce your risk by wetting down soil before digging and using a NIOSH-approved respirator to help prevent breathing dust. Learn more: https://bit.ly/VfAtWork
Valley fever could be in the dirt and dust where you work. Firefighter digging outside.

​Suggested messag​e: 

The Valley fever fungus can infect people who work or dig outdoors in certain areas in California. In 2021, several members of a wildland firefighter crew got Valley fever after digging and moving soil to control a fire. Fire safety crews should learn about #ValleyFever and steps for protection: https://bit.ly/VfFireTraining


Valley fever could be in the dusty air you breathe at work. Man working in dusty field.
Valley fever could be in the dusty air you breathe at work. Two people walking in a construction site.

Suggested message: ​

Working outside in some dusty areas could increase your chances of getting #ValleyFever, a potentially serious illness. Reduce your risk by wetting down soil before digging and staying upwind of areas where dirt is being disturbed. https://bit.ly/VfAtWork

#ValleyFeverAwareness

Valley fever could be in the dusty air your pet breathes. Silhouette of dog in dusty air.

Suggested mes​​sage: 

People and pets can get Valley fever by breathing in the Valley fever fungus from outdoor dust and dirt. T​​ake steps to protect yourself and your pets from breathing in dust outdoors – especially if you live in ​areas where #ValleyFever is common, like the Central Valley and Central Coast: 

  • Stay inside during dust storms
  • Cover open dirt areas around your home with grass or gravel
  • Keep pets from digging in the dirt

Learn more: https://bit.ly/VFinPets​​ 

Aches, pains, and a fever that lasts could be Valley fever. Exhausted man holding his head.

​Suggested mess​​age: 

Valley fever and COVID-19 share many of the same symptoms, including fever, cough, fatigue, and body aches. But symptoms of Valley fever can last for weeks. Different lab tests are needed to know whether symptoms are caused by #COVID19 or #ValleyFever. Learn more: https://bit.ly/VFSymptoms

#ValleyFeverAwareness

Valley fever could be the cough and fatigue that don't end. Man coughing and holding his chest.
Valley fever could be the cough and fatigue that don't end. Man coughing with blanket around him.

​Suggested messages: 

  • If you’ve tested negative for #COVID19 but still have a cough that has lingered for over a week, ask a healthcare provider about Valley fever. Lasting aches and pains, fever, fatigue, and coughing could be symptoms of #ValleyFever, which is caused by breathing in a fungus found in outdoor dust. https://bit.ly/VFSymptoms 
    #ValleyFeverAwareness
  • ​If you have a lingering cough after exposure to dust outdoors, ask a healthcare provider about #ValleyFever. Lasting aches and pains, fever, fatigue, and coughing could be symptoms of Valley fever (which is caused by breathing in a fungus). https://bit.ly/VFSymptoms
    #ValleyFeverAwareness​
Valley fever could be more severe for some. Black woman outside.
Valley fever could be more severe for some. Pregnant woman indoors.

Suggested me​​​ssage: 

Pregnant women, older adults, people who are Black or Filipino, and those with diabetes are at greater risk of getting very sick from Valley fever. If you have a cough, fever, and fatigue that wo’t go away AND you’ve tested negative for #COVID19, ask a doctor if it could be #ValleyFever. Learn who’s most at risk: www.CouldBeValleyFever.org

Persistent cough, fever, and fatigue could be Valley fever. Doctor and patient talking in exam room.
Persistent cough, fever, and fatigue could be Valley fever. Masked doctor and patient talking in office.

​Suggested messa​​ge: 

Tested negative for #COVID19, but have a cough or fever that’s lasted longer than a week? It could be Valley fever. Talk to a doctor and tell them if you’ve recently been to areas where #ValleyFever is common, or if you’ve been in a dusty area. Learn more: www.CouldBeValleyFever.org

#ValleyFeverAwareness ​

​Social Media — Fungal Disease Awareness 

​​In certain parts of California, a fungus in outdoor dust can infect the lungs. Think Valley Fever.

​Suggested messages: 

  • ​​​There’s fungus among us! In certain parts of California, the fungus that causes Valley fever grows in the dirt. If people (and pets) breathe in the fungus from outdoor dust, they can get sick. If you have a cough, fever, and fatigue that aren’t getting better, talk to a healthcare provider about #ValleyFever. https://bit.ly/VFSymptoms

  • ​There’s fungus among us! The #ValleyFever fungus grows in dirt in certain parts of CA. If people & pets breathe in the fungus from outdoor dust, they can get sick. Ask a healthcare provider if your symptoms could be Valley fever: https://bit.ly/VFSymptoms

#ThinkFungu​s #FungalWeek​​

Cough, fever, fatigue? Symptoms that last weeks or months could mean something else... Think Valley Fever.
Cough, fever, & fatigue lasting for weeks? Think Valley Fever.

​Suggested messages: ​

  • ​The symptoms of Valley fever are similar to those of other common illnesses, including COVID-19. If you have a cough, fever, and fatigue that aren’t getting better, ask a healthcare provider if the symptoms could be Valley fever. Learn more about #ValleyFever in California and where it is common: https://bit.ly/VFBasics

  • ​Symptoms of #ValleyFever are similar to those of other common illnesses, including #COVID19. If you have a cough, fever, and fatigue that aren’t getting better, ask a healthcare provider if symptoms could be Valley fever. 
    https://bit.ly/VFSymptoms

#ThinkFungu​s #FungalWeek​​​

​ 

Pneumonia not getting better with treatment? Think Valley Fever.

Suggested messages: 

  • Valley fever is caused by a fungus and can’t be treated with antibiotics that usually work for other types of pneumonia. If you have pneumonia symptoms like cough, fever, and fatigue that aren’t getting better with treatment, ask your healthcare provider about #ValleyFever. Be sure to tell them if you work or have spent time outdoors in dusty areas. 
    https://bit.ly/VFSymptoms
  • Valley fever is caused by a fungus and can’t be treated with antibiotics that work for other types of pneumonia. If you have cough, fever, and fatigue that aren’t getting better with treatment, ask your healthcare provider about #ValleyFever. 
    https://bit.ly/VFSymptoms

#ThinkFungus #FungalWeek​​


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