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Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever): A comprehensive analysis of the condition

  • Posted on- Aug 28, 2015
  • 215 Views

Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection which usually affects the lungs and may be most often asymptomatic, but may manifest as a flu-like illness or pneumonia. Occasionally, this infection may cause severe, progressive pneumonia or residual pulmonary complications. In immune-compromised individuals, it may spread to other areas including the skin, bone, joints and meninges. A history of travel or residence in an endemic area is very important in establishing the risk of exposure.

Coccidioidomycosis can be classified into three forms - acute, chronic, and disseminated. Acute valley fever is characterized with mild or no symptoms. Flu-like symptoms appear after two to three weeks of exposure, and they include fever, headache, chills, weakness, chest pain, rashes, and joint pain. If the infected person does not develop any symptom, the disease can be diagnosed only through a skin or blood test. A routine X-ray can detect presence of nodules in the lungs. If the infected person develops severe symptoms, at least six months of treatment is needed for recovery.

Chronic coccidioidomycosis is like chronic pneumonia. If the initial infection is not treated properly, occasional recurrence is possible. Usually, such recurrence occurs in diabetic people, and those with a weak immune system. The symptoms include fever, cough, sputum with tinges of blood, cough, and nodules in the lungs. Those who fail to recover from acute valley fever may also develop the chronic variant.

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis is the spread of infection from lungs to other parts, like skin, bones, liver, brain, heart, and the spinal cord. It produces symptoms, like skin lesions, nodules, swollen joints, painful lesions in the skull, bones and spine, and meningitis.

Treatment of Coccidioidomycosis

Acute coccidioidomycosis does not require any treatment. It is like common flu, and can be relieved with complete bed rest and intake of lots of fluids. If the symptoms do not subside or become severe, antifungal medication is prescribed. If the condition of the patient is serious, then intravenous antifungal drugs are used. At present, there is no vaccination available to cure valley fever.

Some effective measures can be taken to prevent coccidioidomycosis. You can wear a mask and protect yourself from inhaling the dust. Stay indoors and close the doors, windows, and ventilators, during stormy weather. Wet the soil before digging, as a precautionary measure. The last and most important thing is to consult a physician as soon as the symptoms appear.

Ayurvedic treatment of Coccidioidomycosis

The Ayurvedic treatment of coccidioidomycosis is aimed at treating both the acute and chronic symptoms of the disease. The acute pulmonary infection is treated using medicines like Shwas-Kuthar-Ras, Arogya-Vardhini, Ras-Sindur, Malla-Sindur, Sameer-Pannag-Ras, Shrung-Bhasma, Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Kushtha (Saussarea lappa), Pippali (Piper longum), Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum), Bruhat-Kantakari (Solanum indicum), Behada (Terminalia bellerica), Som (Ephedra vulgaris), Karkatashrungi (Pistishia integerima), Kulingan (Alpimia galangal), Dhatura (Dhatura fastuosa) and Vasa (Adhatoda vasaka).