What Is Valley Fever?

Valley Fever(also known as California Fever) is a lung infection that is caused by an airborne fungus in mostly agricultural and construction areas. People living in the southwestern United States, particularly in Arizona, New Mexico, and California, are the most vulnerable. Soil-infected fungus seeds in the ground produces airborne spores which are released during earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. These environmental changes create harmful dust particles that pollute the air and can infect your lungs. If left untreated, it can result in chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and night sweats. People with HIV infection should be especially concerned because their weakened immune system makes then more at risk. Valley Fever is a tricky condition to diagnose because it is often mistaken for the common cold or the flu. The good news is that Valley Fever is not contagious and can be prevented. If you follow these two steps, they can help reduce your chances of contracting this illness:

Avoid Valley Fever Areas

If you have relatives or friends living in the southwestern United States, this may be unrealistic.  If you do have to travel to this region, you should do so during the Spring season. Scientific studies have shown that your risk is less during this time of the year. People considering relocating to these areas should have a physical examination before moving. Your physician can make sure that you are healthy and counsel you on any potential problems. Even if you are only vacationing this is something that is strongly recommended. Smokers should consider reducing their consumption because it could increase their risk of contracting this condition.

Use Protective Measures

Purchasing a safety mask is a good investment in helping to prevent Valley Fever. People with a history of respiratory or lung problems should seriously consider this. The cost is not much and you will be helping yourself stay healthy. If you have to drive through a Valley Fever region, make sure that your vehicle is properly ventilated. This can reduce your risk of inhaling harmful dust and other parasites. A well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables can help because they contain nutrients that enhance your immune system. Medical studies have also found that some vitamins can reduce your risk of contracting Valley Fever. Ask your doctor which ones might help you.

It is an illness that is very preventable and avoiding these regions is the best protection. If this is not possible, then you should use protective measures to reduce your risk. Investing in a safety mask is perhaps the most effective safety measure that you can use. A properly ventilated vehicle can also help prevent you from contracting this lung infection. If you follow these two steps, they can help you avoid Valley Fever.

3M 8000 Particle Respirator N95, 30-Pack
Amazon Price: $15.60 $8.50 Buy Now
(price as of May 13, 2015)
MSA Safety Works 10041139 Full Face Multi Purpose Respirator
Amazon Price: $179.95 $136.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 13, 2015)