Valley Fever symptoms can be different for everyone. Typically, people will need 6-12 months to recover from non-disseminated disease–that’s a long time to wait to feel “normal” again.
Below is a list of many possible Valley Fever symptoms in humans, although symptoms of Valley Fever in dogs, cats, and other animals can be similar. Canine Valley Fever, Feline Valley Fever, Valley Fever in horses…all of it can include the following list of symptoms:
Flu-like symptoms Malaise/chronic exhaustion Fever Muscle aches Shortness of breath/wheezing Muscle stiffness Coughing (can be chronic and severe) Joint pain Coughing up blood Joint swelling Chest pain/pressure Joint stiffness Night sweats/Chills Leg/ankle/foot swelling Headaches Photosensitivity Nausea *Vision problems/blindness Loss of appetite **Neck stiffness Weight loss **Inability to focus and concentrate Rash **Foot drop or partial paralysis Burning sensations at various parts of the body (foot, joints, etc.) **Severe head pain (as opposed to a normal headache)
*This can be a sign of lesions in the eye, but also a side effect of Vfend (voriconazole), a medication use to treat Valley Fever. **These could be a sign of meningitis from Valley Fever and may therefore require aggressive antifungal therapy.
Valley Fever is often misdiagnosed as cancer, tuberculosis, or bacterial pneumonia. It can disseminate (spread) throughout the body. The fact that the symptoms of Valley Fever vary so greatly is a part of the reason misdiagnosis is so common. In addition, the lack of training and lack of accurate information available to doctors is a contributing factor in the frequent misdiagnoses of this devastating illness.
The disease can cause hydrocephalus (harmful pressure from spinal fluid on the brain), verrucose ulcers (wartlike outgrowths on the surface of organs and skin), arthralgias (joint pains), myalgias (muscle pains), otomycosis (fungal infection of the external ear canal), hypercalcemia (extra calcium in the blood that can be fatal) and other terrible conditions.
The simplest, fastest description of Valley Fever is that the disease can create lesions or inflammation in nearly any part of the body. The fact that one can consider the disease in such simple terms should never be taken to mean anyone should ignore it’s deadly, painful, or debilitating consequences.
The following problems caused by lesions are only the tip of the iceberg: Lytic lesions involve rupture of cell membranes, keratotic ulcers are scaly and wartlike, and the disease can create lesions on other internal organs or manifest in visible, hideous skin conditions.
Depending on where Valley Fever causes inflammation within the body, a patient may experience arthritis, conjunctivitis, endocarditis, meningitis, myocarditis, osteomyelitis, pleuritis, tenosynovitis, vasculitis or a variety of other painful or life-threatening conditions. Meningitis, the swelling of the brain’s lining, is universally regarded as the most deadly and dangerous form of Valley Fever. It occurs frequently in patients who have the disease spread from their lungs.
Valley Fever usually starts in the lungs and can disseminate to virtually any part of the body such as:
skin lymph nodes bones eyes joints heart spine kidney brain thyroid liver gastrointestinal tract testicles genitourinary tract