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Weather service warns that winds heighten risk of Valley fever

The National Weather Service has issued a warning reminding Las Vegas Valley residents of the risk of contracting Valley fever amid high winds.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Valley fever is a lung infection caused by fungus that lives in the soil. Most cases are reported in Arizona and California, according to the CDC.

The fungus that causes Valley fever — Coccidiodies — is found in the Southwest and people can get it by breathing in the microscopic fungus from the air. Valley fever does not spread from person to person, according to the CDC.

The National Weather Service encourages Las Vegas residents to do their best to stay indoors, close windows and recirculate air in their cars during times when high winds are blowing dust, they said in a Tweet.

According to the CDC, symptoms of Valley fever include fatigue; coughing; fever; shortness of breath; headache; night sweats; muscle aches or joint pain; and a rash on upper body or legs.

For most people, symptoms will go away without any treatment, after weeks or months. Health care providers can prescribe antifungal medication for people who’d like to reduce symptoms or prevent the infection from getting worse. People who have severe lung infections or infections that have spread to other parts of the body require antifungal treatment and may need to stay in the hospital, according to the CDC.

Contact Jessica Terrones at jterrones@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256. Follow @JessATerrones on Twitter.

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