The first time I ever heard about valley fever was back around 2005 or 2006 at Galveston, TX. No, as far as I know, you can’t catch it there. We used to spend a month at Galveston State Park over Christmas, and one year we met some nice people who were heading back home to Florida from a trip to Arizona. A couple of days after they pulled in, his “slight cold” got worse. In fact, he got so bad his wife thought he was dying and called an ambulance. They took him to the hospital and tried to relieve his symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and chest pains. At first they thought it was his heart. The doctors just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with this guy, they had never seen anything like it.
Their son contacted the doctors and told them that his dad had just been in Arizona and to check for Valley Fever. The doctors had no idea what that was but after some research, they figured out how to test for it and, sure enough, it was Valley Fever. Sort of sounds like a song, “I got the Fever”. That was the first time I heard of it, but not the last. It is caused by a fungus that lives in the desert dirt and sand. Therefore, when you are out in the desert, and if the dust is blowing around, wear a breathing mask or at least a bandana around your nose and mouth.
Just when I think I have this all figured out, I hear about this guy who had been prospecting in Arizona and wound up in the Wickenburg hospital. They checked him out for heart trouble and found none, so they figured he had Valley Fever and treated him for that with anti-biotics and anti-fungals but the tests came back negative. He had all the symptoms, so they believe that there are different types of fungi in the desert that causes the same symptoms. Makes sense to me. The bottom line is prevention; wear a mask when riding bikes or four-wheelers in the desert, or when prospecting. Don’t take the chance of a hospital stay. I don’t know how far spread this fungus is, but I do know for sure it is in Arizona.
We are having another cool, clear, beautiful day here today. Now you all have a great day, you hear?