It’s Not Just Flu Season…

January 29, 2014

Arizona ShrubIf you live in the Southwest, beware that your flu-like may not be flu, they may be Valley Fever.

Valley Fever is an airborne disease spread by the dry dust of the Southwest, and since last May, cases have been on the rise.

Two factors are at work: first, over the last decade, the Southwest has become more dry and hotter, allowing the disease (a fungus, Coccidioides immitis, or Cocci for short) to thrive, and second, development is going further into the desert. Not only does this bring more people into range for Cocci infection, but digging in the dirt actually kicks the Cocci into the air.

Now, the average person has a strong enough immune system to overcome Valley Fever with minimal symptoms. BUT, the southwest is still thriving as a retirement community (your immune system weakens with age) and there’s currently a flu epidemic that could really drain your immune system.

Avoid A Valley Fever Infection:
-Wear a mask if:

-It’s windy out
-You’re digging in the dirt, OR there’s construction in your neighborhood
-You have a weakened immune system, it’s winter, and you’ll be spending time outside (even an outdoor mall or car dealership).

-Run a humidifier in your home—it will help fight dry-loving Valley Fever AND the flu!

-Keep your immune system strong. Get your rest, take your vitamins, and support your immune system with colloidal silver.

-Keep an eye on local news so you know if infections are being reported in your area. Adjust your prevention strategy accordingly.

Is It Valley Fever?

If you have flu-like symptoms, closely monitor your illness. Valley Fever also often has a rash that could tip you off—but since there’s no easy treatment, you only need to see your doctor if:

-You have an underlying condition that puts you at risk for severe symptoms,
-Your symptoms worsen (Valley Fever can turn into pneumonia and difficulty breathing).

Treating Valley Fever

There isn’t a specific treatment for Valley Fever. Severe cases will be given an antifungal (nasty side-effects, but life-saving if necessary) and possibly therapy/aid to fix breathing problems, which can be long term if treatment isn’t sought quickly enough.

Really, you want to avoid getting Valley Fever to begin with.

Are you in the Southwest? Have you been warned about Valley Fever? What advice are you being given?

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