What are the Symptoms of a Fungal Infection of the Lungs?

N. Madison

The symptoms of a fungal lung infection are often similar to those of the flu or another type of respiratory illness. Typically, a person with a fungal infection of the lungs will experience such symptoms as coughing, headache, fever, and pain in the joints or muscles, or both. Sometimes, an infection causes chest pain, chills, and night sweats as well. Some people may even develop rashes. The symptoms a person has typically depend on the type of fungal infection he has developed.

A human respiratory system.
A human respiratory system.

It’s important to note that a fungal infection of the lungs may not always cause obvious physical symptoms. In fact, when a person has a mild case, he may not learn of the infection until it is seen on an X-ray. When the condition progresses to a more serious case of infection, however, an individual is more likely to exhibit signs of it.

Doctors use x-rays to help determine the type of lung infection a patient may have.
Doctors use x-rays to help determine the type of lung infection a patient may have.

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In many cases, the symptoms of a fungal infection resemble those of the flu or another serious type of respiratory infection. A person with this condition may have a fever and a severe cough, as well as headaches, night sweats, and hoarseness. Fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and joint and chest pain are also among the symptoms that a person may develop.

Headaches and fever can be symptoms of fungal infection of the lungs.
Headaches and fever can be symptoms of fungal infection of the lungs.

The exact symptoms a person has with a fungal lung infection may depend on the fungus that caused it. One type of fungal infection is called coccidiomycosis, and it causes a cough that may be bloody, breathing difficulties, chills, pain in the chest, and pain in the muscles and joints. This particular infection may also cause a rash that appears on the affected person’s legs.

Another type of infection is called histoplasmosis, and it typically causes symptoms that are a bit different from those of coccidiomycosis. When an individual has this fungal infection of the lungs, he may have a cough that is dry or produces mucus. He may also experience hoarseness, chest pain, and joint pain. Weight loss and night sweats may also develop. Often, people with this condition have fever as well.

Aspergillus is another type of fungal infection that can affect the lungs. It typically causes symptoms that are similar to the those of both histoplasmosis and coccidiomycosis. This condition causes a cough, which may produce blood, as well as chest pain and breathing difficulty. Headache, fever, and night sweats may develop.

Since the symptoms of various types of lung infections are so similar, medical professionals typically use X-rays to tell them apart. They may use computed tomography (CT) scans in diagnosing patients as well. When possible, they may also take samples of the organisms that caused the infection and examine them to make a diagnosis.

Coughing is a symptom of a fungal infection in the lungs.
Coughing is a symptom of a fungal infection in the lungs.

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Discussion Comments

anon227263

Is it possible to diagnose fungal infections through bloodwork?

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