The CDC is telling cities in the Southwest to start watching for Valley Fever cases in their area. Here's why people can confuse Valley Fever with COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning cities in the Southwest to start monitoring a new potential health threat- Valley Fever.

Valley Fever is a fungal infection that affects the lungs but can spread to other parts of the body, according to the CDC. This fungus lives in the soil in the southwestern parts of the country. The coccidioidomycosis fungus can also be found in parts of Mexico as well as Central and South America. Valley Fever is usually found in Arizona or California but there are cases that have been found in the Borderland.

Valley Fever has similar symptoms to COVID-19 including high fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, body aches, and more. Because of these similar symptoms, people who come down with Valley Fever can mistake the illness for COVID-19.

Dr. Armando Meza from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in El Paso told KFOX News that most people are exposed to this fungus already:

"Fortunately, the majority of us don't have any symptoms. But those who do need medical attention early on or they will get the complications we talked about and they can be fatal."

Not only can the complications be fatal, they can also have lasting impacts on your health. While in college, my boyfriend collapsed and couldn't breathe. He was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with Valley Fever. He spent the next few weeks in the ICU trying to fight off the illness but his infection was severe. He ended up having to have surgery to remove a portion of his lung due to the infection.

So even if Valley Fever seems less severe, and doesn't affect everyone negatively, it still can be a serious illness. So if you think you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, go get checked. And if that test is negative, you may want to see f you can be checked for Valley Fever too. Learn more about Valley Fever at the CDC website.

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