Valley fever on the rise in Central California

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By: Julie Giyer
Kern Valley Sun

It is that time of year when colds and the flu sneak in and knock us to our feet. Many individuals receive flu shots to prepare for what may come. Regardless, with winter comes the sniffles and the coughs. This winter we have a whole new enemy, Valley Fever. At first, doctors believed this virus to be a form of lung cancer. Nodules are formed in the lungs resembling that of lung cancer. Yet, it is nothing more than a fungal infection.

Valley Fever is an illness caused by the fungus Coccidioides immitis, which grows in the hot, dry soil of the Central Valley and across the American Southwest. This illness, for a small number of people, can develop into debilitating infections that spread from the lungs to other parts of the body, including the brain. Valley Fever travels in dust particles through the air.

When it enters the lungs and undergoes a traumatic metamorphosis. Most people are able to recover on their own, others require an anti-fungal medication. With the warming climate becoming more prominent, Valley Fever is on the rise. As of November of this year, over 7,000 case have been reported in Central Valley and Central Coast regions of California. Colorado closed 43 schools due to the outbreak of this illness.

The only thing you can do is be prepared, take your vitamins, and build up your immune system. Illnesses usually attack the weaker immune systems the hardest. If you have symptoms for over a week definitely go see your health care provider.