Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) is a difficult disease to diagnose, and is often misdiagnosed. Surveys in Arizona have shown that people who know about valley fever get correctly diagnosed faster than those who don’t. This makes earlier medical intervention possible, and patients can hope for a better outcome.

Too many people are still being misdiagnosed and given antibiotics, which have no effect on the fungus that causes the symptoms. Or, they are sent home with pain killers, having been misdiagnosed with lung cancer and sometimes even losing a lung. This happens here, in Kern County, which is considered hyper-endemic for valley fever.

I am a volunteer with the Valley Fever Walk held every year in August on or near the anniversary of the death of Dr. Hans Einstein, a valley fever pioneer and revered physician. The purpose of the walk is to increase awareness of the disease in our community and reduce the impact of suffering and loss due to valley fever.

Please join us Aug. 13 at Kern County Museum’s Pioneer Village, 7:00-9:30 a.m. Learn more about this disease. The life you save could be your own.

Sharon Borradori