A home should be your refuge, and, in most cases, it is one. Still, many are oblivious to the hidden hazards housed in this safe place. You may be sharing your home with a fungus that could jeopardize your health and cause respiratory complications.
Are You in Danger of Histoplasmosis?
Histoplasmosis is a respiratory illness that develops due to the strong presence of the type of fungus named Histoplasma. It is common in central and eastern states in the U.S., but most notably in the midwest along the Mississippi River valleys and Ohio. It’s a natural environmental fungus, but it thrives in soil with a significant amount of bat and bird droppings. You can get infected by breathing in the spores from the contaminated air.
While not that serious for non-immunocompromised individuals, it can be life-threatening for people with a weakened immune system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found a reason to raise awareness about this illness since misdiagnoses are common. Due to the low awareness of the infection, it often gets mistaken for viral infections. However, histoplasmosis is preventable.
Check Your Attic
You may be at risk for histoplasmosis if you live in the areas where Histoplasma is most common. The risk is significantly higher if bats and birds nest in your attic. One of the most common methods of preventing this infection is to check your attic. Droppings from birds and bats may be a source of the fungal spores causing the illness. Another possible source of infection is chicken coops, so watch for potential symptoms if you have coops on your property.
Treatments Are Available
If you suspect that you may have histoplasmosis after being in contact with bats or birds, contact a medical professional. The good news is that treatments for this condition are available, even in severe cases.