Valley fever is difficult to diagnose solely on the basis of signs and symptoms, because they're usually vague and overlap with symptoms that occur in other illnesses. Even a chest X-ray can't distinguish valley fever from other lung diseases.
A definitive diagnosis depends on finding evidence of coccidioides organisms in tissue, blood or other body secretions. For that reason, you're likely to have one or more of the following tests:
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- Sputum smear or culture. These tests check a sample of the matter that's discharged while coughing (sputum) for the presence of coccidioides organisms.
- Blood tests. Through a blood test, your doctor can check for antibodies against the fungus that causes valley fever.
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