Bats and birds may be considered pests in some households and yards because of the damage they cause. But an infestation can also lead to serious health consequences, such as a lung condition called histoplasmosis.
Here is some information about what histoplasmosis is, what it feels like, and how to address this type of infection with natural strategies.
What Causes Histoplasmosis?
A fungus called histoplasma causes the infection known as histoplasmosis. This is a fungus that commonly lives in soil that has many bird or bat droppings. You can get this type of fungus by breathing in the fungal spores that are in the air around contaminated soil.
Where is Histoplasmosis Common?
Histoplasma is a global type of fungus that thrives in North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. But in the U.S., it is most prevalent in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys in the eastern and central U.S. Places where birds nest and bats live are common sources for fungal spores, including caves, barns, and chicken coops. Therefore, farmers, roofers, and pest control workers are at a heightened risk of developing this lung infection.
The most common symptoms that are felt by a person with histoplasmosis are couching, sore throats, fevers, and fatigue. Histoplasmosis affects the lungs most commonly, although skin lesions are possible in rarer cases. You also might notice joint paint, red bumps on your legs, and chest pain. In severe cases of inflammation caused by histoplasmosis, a person may have headache, stiff neck, shortness of blood, and cough up blood. Complications from the condition may arise for elderly adults, very young children, people with HIV/AIDS, or people undergoing cancer chemotherapy. Meanwhile, some people who breathe in histoplasma do not develop any symptoms at all. Histoplasmosis is not a contagious condition.
Natural Ways to Treat Histoplasmosis
Fortunately, many people who develop histoplasmosis get over the infection on their own without having to take medication. However, these infections can be severe in people who have compromised immune systems. To test for histoplasmosis, a doctor may do testing of urine and blood to check for antibodies. Lung x-rays, biopsies, or CT scans may also be required.
To treat histoplasmosis, antifungal medications can be used, especially if the infection has spread from the lungs to other body parts. Surgery is rarely necessary, while lifestyle changes can make a big difference in histoplasmosis symptoms. Recommended foods to eat are antioxidant-rich foods, like blueberries and tomatoes, and also bitter/spicy foods, like garlic, olives, and cayenne peppers. Other home remedies with antifungal properties that you may consider to support mild irritation include fish oil, green tea, tea tree oil, and olive leaf.
If your symptoms don’t go away within a week, plan to see a doctor right away to prevent potential complications and to get an accurate diagnosis of what is making you feel ill.