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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.

Outline of human head and chest with head turned to side. Inside of nose, trachea, and lungs are visible. Fungus is being breathed in to nose and lungs.

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 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.   

When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F or higher

  • Chest pain

  • Coughing up blood

  • Shortness of breath

  • Extreme tiredness

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

  • Symptoms that don’t get better with treatment

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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