Valley fever: Arizona beware!

Towards the end of 2020, while working hard to keep my business afloat during a pandemic, I managed to get Valley Fever. What a nightmare!

What is Valley Fever and how do you get it?

Anyone who lives in or travels to the southwestern United States (Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, or Utah), or parts of Mexico or Central or South America can get Valley Fever.  It’s an infectious disease of microscopic fungal spores in the air (usually kicked up in dust during windy days or heavy construction areas), which finds its way into the lungs during respiration.

Initially, I (and my doctors) thought I had Covid19 since the symptom list is very similar. Symptoms of Valley Fever include:

  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Rash on upper body or legs

But after multiple negative Covid19 swab tests and deteriorating respiration, I ended up in the hospital. I was about 2 hours away from having a painful lung biopsy when the blood test results came back confirming it was Valley Fever ravaging my lungs.

Did you know dogs can get Valley Fever too?

Here’s a great video from Laveen Veterinary Center about Valley Fever in dogs:

While there is no actual cure for Valley Fever, the anti-fungal medication I’m on has me feeling almost all the way back to my normal self! I appreciate all of the well wishes and patience from everyone while I was sick – it really was helpful to be so supported by my community <3

-Sara

 

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