Posted at: 04/01/2013 6:54 PM
Updated at: 04/01/2013 7:36 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Valley Fever is on the rise in the Southwest. So what are the symptoms, and how can you protect yourself?
Valley Fever is common in areas where it’s dry, like New Mexico. What’s in the dust can cause fevers, coughs and aches. It could be Valley Fever.
“Your summer cold that’s a little bit more serious than the typical summer cold and it doesn’t go away in 4 or 5 days,” said Dr. John Iacuone of Lovelace Health Plan.
In 2012, 33 cases were reported in New Mexico. If you work in the fields, are pregnant in your third trimester or are receiving chemotherapy, you’re at the most risk. “Anything that lowers your ability to fight an infection, that’s when these type of bugs really can cause problems,” added Dr. Iacuone.
Dogs can also catch Valley Fever. “Just because of being close to the ground and sniffing in the air where the fungal spores can be a little more predisposed to is so we’ve seen dogs can get signs of a chronic cough that doesn’t go away and sometimes some limping,” said Cole England of Banfield Pet Hospital.
Dr. Iacuone said washing your hands is the best way to prevent Valley Fever.
The number of cases of Valley Fever is much higher in Arizona and California but New Mexico is included in a federal warning about Valley Fever just out last week.
If you’re in those risk groups mentioned above and you have flu like symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.