Histoplasmosis: A Fungus to Be Aware OfNovember 8, 2021 5:00 pm Leave your thoughts
What is histoplasmosis? Caused by the Histoplasma fungus, histoplasmosis is an infection that can sometimes cause coughing, fever and a range of other symptoms. Symptoms of histoplasmosis usually occur around three to 17 days after infection, though this can vary from person to person.
These symptoms last about a week in most cases; however, those with compromised immune systems can experience severe infections from breathing in Histoplasma spores.
Read on if you’re interested in learning more about histoplasmosis. And if you’re concerned about the air quality in your home, consider having an air quality test performed.
How do I get histoplasmosis?
People contract histoplasmosis by breathing in airborne Histoplasma fungus spores. These spores can come from a number of places, though they’re most common in areas with soil that features a lot of bird or bat feces. People can get histoplasmosis by walking, running or engaging in any other activities that disturb soil containing Histoplasma.
Histoplasma is found all over the world, including in South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The central and eastern United States feature the highest concentration of Histoplasma in the country. It’s especially prevalent around the Mississippi Valley and the Ohio River Valley.
Symptoms of histoplasmosis
As mentioned above, the symptoms of histoplasmosis can vary from person to person. If you’re exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit a doctor right away. In most cases, one of the best ways to prevent bad infection is early treatment. You should watch out for symptoms like coughing, chills, fever and headache, especially if you live in one of the areas mentioned above. Other common symptoms of histoplasmosis include chest pain, body aches and fatigue.
Those with weakened immune symptoms are at a higher risk for lung infection after contracting histoplasmosis. This infection may spread to other parts of the body, including the brain, if not treated.
Getting tested for histoplasmosis
In most cases, a health care professional will perform a urine and/or blood test to determine if you have histoplasmosis. They’ll also consider your medical and travel history as well as your symptoms. In some cases, they may perform a tissue biopsy or extract test fluid from your respiratory system. You can get tested at most medical centers; it usually takes around a couple of weeks for the test results to come back.
Treatment of histoplasmosis
There’s no vaccine for histoplasmosis at this time; however, after contracting histoplasmosis, most people will feel better over time without the need for medication. If the infection becomes severe, a doctor might recommend prescription antifungal medication, especially if it has spread to the lungs. One of the most common medications used to treat histoplasmosis is itraconazole.
Now that you know what histoplasmosis is, if you’re experiencing the symptoms of the disease, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor may want to start you on a treatment program right away. If the symptoms are severe, don’t hesitate to go to the emergency room.
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