Fungal infection of the lungs is scientifically known as Aspergillosis. It is named after the fungus causing the condition. This condition is as a result of overgrowth of fungi in the lungs. In this condition, fungus fiber, blood clots and white blood cells may accumulate in the lungs or in the sinuses. The fungus makes its way into the lungs, when a person breathes. This fungus is found in compost heap, air vent and sometimes also in the dust. Infection caused by Aspergillosis may give rise to one of the three conditions, called pulmonary aspergilloma, invasive aspergillosis and allergic broncho-pulmonary aspergillosis. Before we turn to symptoms of lung infection caused by fungus, we will read in short about the three types of fungal lung infection.
Types of Fungal Lung Infection
Pulmonary aspergilloma affects the open spaces in the body. They occupy the space or cavities in the lungs created by the preexisting lung disorder. In some cases, the infection may also spread to the ear canals and sinuses. The infection often resembles a tangled mass, which consists of fungus fiber, white blood cells and blood clots. When the condition is not treated, it is seen, that the ball grows in size and destroys the lung tissue.
When the fungal infection becomes very aggressive, it is called invasive aspergillosis. It is seen that the infection spreads very fast not only through the lungs, but it also makes its way into the bloodstream, brain, liver, kidney and the heart. It is seen, that this condition affects people with a weakened immune system.
As the name suggests, allergic broncho-pulmonary aspergillosis affects people who suffer from respiratory problems like asthma. This condition is also known to affect people with cystic fibrosis. In this condition, the patient often develops chronic allergic reaction. The common symptoms which accompany include wheezing, fever and cough. It is caused due to the fungus lining the airway.
What are the Symptoms of Fungal Infection?
In most cases, fungal infection in lungs symptoms are considered conditions of respiratory infection, unless an X-ray of the chest is taken, which proves it otherwise. The symptoms include
- The most common symptom of fungal lung infections is constant coughing. In most cases, the patient throws out clear, yet red colored mucus. On close examination of the mucus, sores may be seen under the mucus. The red color of the mucus is due to blood content in it.
- The person with fungal infection may also suffer from chest pain. The pain is constant and the person may also find it very difficult to breathe.
- In most cases, coughing is accompanied by fever. The symptoms of fever refuse to die down in spite of taking medications for the same. The patient may also suffer from chills in some cases.
- If the infection has spread to the ear canal, then itching of the ear is the most common symptom. Itching may also be accompanied by pain.
- In severe case of infection to the ear canal, there may be discharge from the ear during the night. This discharge often stains the pillow.
- When the sinuses are also affected, the patient may suffer from congestion of the sinuses. In most cases, there is pain and discharge as well, which may be confused with common cold.
- Fatigue, hoarse voice are also among the lung infection symptoms.
- If the infection has spread throughout the body, then joint and muscle pain may also be observed.
- When the infection is widespread, weight loss may also be observed in the patient.
- Night sweats is also one of the symptoms of fungal lung infection. Therefore, it is important to find the root cause of the night sweats, if one is suffering from it.
If any of the symptoms are observed, it is important to consult a health care professional. If the condition is not treated on time, it can prove to be fatal. At the same time, it is important not to self treat the condition, to avoid the condition from going bad to worse. With the help of certain tests, the physician will be in a better position to prescribe the right treatment for the condition.