Pulmonary (Lung) Histoplasmosis
Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. The fungus usually enters the body by being breathed into the lungs. This fungus can be found in soil in certain parts of the country. People with lung problems or weak immune systems are most at risk for this infection. Read on to learn more about the condition and how it is treated.
Symptoms of Lung Histoplasmosis
Many people with this lung infection have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they include fever, chills, coughing, and other flu-like symptoms. A person may also have chest pain.
Diagnosing Lung Histoplasmosis
You may have one or more of the following tests:
Blood tests take a sample of blood and check it for problems.
Sputum culture takes fluid from the lungs and tests it for fungus.
Imaging tests, such as chest x-ray, CT scan, or MRI scan, take detailed pictures of the lungs.
Biopsy takes a sample of lung tissue to test for fungus.
Treating Lung Histoplasmosis
Antifungal medications can often kill the fungus and treat the infection. You may need to take the medications for months. If the infection isn’t treated, scar tissue can form in the lungs. The infection can also spread to the rest of the body. Your healthcare provider can tell you more about your condition, treatment options, and prognosis.
Preventing Lung Histoplasmosis
You can reduce your risk of exposure to this infection. Avoid places with large amounts of bird or bat droppings. This includes caves, coops, and nesting areas. If you need to work in these areas, wear a protective breathing mask. This can help filter out dust that contains the fungus.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following: