Fungal pneumonia is a form of pneumonia brought about by a fungal infection. Generally, it affects those who have compromised immune systems such as those with AIDS or HIV. In most cases, it is caused by the Pneumocystitis jirovecii fungus (PCP).
Another form of fungal pneumonia develops due to an infection known as the Valley fever.
What are the signs?
The indications of fungal pneumonia vary based on the form of pneumonia and presence of any underlying conditions.
The signs caused by PCP among those with AIDS or HIV include:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
If due to Valley fever, the usual signs include:
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
Remember though that these symptoms can also be triggered by other ailments, thus diagnosis is often delayed.
Management of fungal pneumonia
Depending on the form of fungal pneumonia present, treatment may or might not be needed. Generally, most cases that are caused by the Valley fever settle on their own without any form of treatment.
There are cases that are at higher risk for serious illness if they acquire Valley fever. In such cases, an antifungal medication such as fluconazole might be prescribed to treat the infection.
Those who are at high-risk include those who have compromised immune systems, undergoing cancer treatment or have current conditions that weakens the immune system as well as pregnant women in the 3rd trimester, Asian and African Americans.
If an individual is infected with PCP, the treatment involves an antibiotic specifically trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole. This must be taken for 3 weeks and can be taken in oral form or intravenously depending on the seriousness of the condition.