Histoplasmosis usually has no symptoms in its early stages; fever, chills, headache, and muscle cramps may appear as the infection progresses. The initial infection usually subsides without the need for treatment.
If you breathe in spores of a fungus found in bird and bat droppings, you can contract an infection called histoplasmosis. These spores can become airborne during cleanup or demolition projects and may enter your body through breathing.
Symptoms of Histoplasmosis
There are several types of histoplasmosis infection and they can vary from being mild to severe. The mildest form of it may produce no signs or symptoms, whereas severe form can threaten your life. If your infection shows any signs and symptoms, they would occur between three to 17 days after the exposure to the cause. An infected person may experience:
- Muscle aches
- Dry cough
- Chest discomfort
Joint pain and rash may also happen in some people with histoplasmosis. If a person with an underlying lung disease, such as emphysema, suffers histoplasmosis, the infection becomes chronic and can additionally cause weight loss and a cough that brings up blood. Symptoms of histoplasmosis may sometimes imitate those of tuberculosis.
When severe histoplasmosis (disseminated histoplasmosis) occurs, it does that mostly in infants and people with a weak immune system. This kind of infection can affect any part of the person’s body, which includes eyes, liver, central nervous system, skin and adrenal glands. If untreated, disseminated histoplasmosis can prove to be fatal.
A person with a compromised immune system who has been exposed to bird or bat droppings, and develops flu-like symptoms, should contact their doctor for correct diagnosis.
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