Symptoms of Valley Fever

Key points

  • Many people who are exposed to Coccidioides do not get Valley fever.
  • Valley fever is a fungal lung infection and causes symptoms of pneumonia.
  • Symptoms usually last for a few weeks to a few months.
  • Rarely, Valley fever can cause severe lung infections or infections throughout the body.
An illustration of a man coughing.


If your symptoms last for more than a week, contact your healthcare provider.

Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Cough
  • Fever and headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Rash on upper body or legs

In extremely rare cases, the fungal spores can enter the skin through a cut, wound, or splinter and cause an infection.

Rash (erythema nodosum) due to Valley fever.
Rash (erythema nodosum) due to Valley fever.

Symptoms timing

Symptoms of Valley fever may appear between 1 and 3 weeks after a person breathes in the fungal spores.

Symptoms usually last for a few weeks to a few months. However, some patients have symptoms that last longer than this, especially if the infection becomes severe.

Severe Valley fever

Approximately 5 to 10% of people who get Valley fever will develop serious or long-term problems in their lungs. In an even smaller percent of people (about 1%), the infection spreads from the lungs to other parts of the body. This could include the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), skin, or bones and joints.