How to protect yourself from Valley Fever

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- New numbers released by the state show an increase in Valley Fever cases this year.

Statewide, provisional cases of the infection, which include suspect, probable, and confirmed cases, increased by more than 1,200 compared to this time last year.

The counties with the highest number of cases so far this year include Kern, Los Angeles, Fresno, and Tulare.

A press release from the California Department of Public Health says, "It is unknown why there has been an apparent increase in provisional Valley Fever cases in California in 2017."

The state's public health director goes on to say that important for Californians to know the symptoms of Valley Fever.

Which can be flu-like and include chest pain, coughing, fatigue, and rashes on the leg.

Public health officials in Tulare County advise anyone with the symptoms to see a doctor.

And encourage people, if possible, to stay away out of dusty air.

According to the centers for disease control and prevention, Valley Fever is an infection caused by a fungus that lives in the soil.

Tammie Weyker-Adkins said, "If you're gardening or doing other activities outside kind of digging in the soil, wet down the soil before you go digging in the soil, that's going to help those spores to stay on the ground. If it's windy during the day and you can see a lot of dust, use the recirculate option on your air conditioner, that's going to help as well."

Health and Human Services Public InformationOfficer Tammie Weyker Adkins says there have been 159 confirmed cases of Valley Fever in Tulare County through the end of September.

That is already significantly higher than the 123 annual average from 2011 to 2015.

She says those who cannot escape the dust, like construction workers, should consider buying an N-95 respirator mask.
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