Have you been diagnosed with valley fever? You may be wondering what exactly it is, and how you contracted it. Here's the scoop:
Valley fever (also known as coccidioidomycosis) is a fungal infection that originates in the soil. It affects the lungs and breathing, but can manifest into a serious disease that affects other parts of the body, as well. Individuals can develop valley fever after breathing in dusty air and otherwise coming in contact with contaminated soil.
Although most people will fully recover from valley fever, a small percentage develop long-term lung and breathing problems, as well as other problems. Signs of valley fever can include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
In certain cases, valley fever can lead to meningitis, pneumonia and serious infections. Valley fever can be deadly.
Who Is At Risk?
Since the fungus originates in the soil, farm workers, oil field workers, and others who work outdoors or in agriculture are most susceptible. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of developing valley fever.
Valley fever is most common in the Southwest, including California, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. The Central Valley of California sees many cases of valley fever each year.
Workers who have developed valley fever on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. If you or a family member have become infected, talk to an attorney about your options for seeking compensation to cover medical bills, time off of work, and other expenses.