Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD Patient Handout


About Your Diagnosis

Crytococcosis is a disease caused by a fungus that usually starts in the lungs without causing symptoms, then spreads to the nervous system, kidneys, bone, or skin. It is more serious for individuals with underlying conditions. It can be life threatening for those with leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, transplant patients taking antirejection drugs, and AIDS patients. The fungus may be spread through the air by dust particles contaminated by pigeon droppings. It can be detected by laboratory studies and x-rays. It is curable with treatment.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms include dull chest pain and a cough that may produce blood-streaked sputum; severe headache; fever; blurred vision; confusion; red facial rash; and skin ulcers.

Mild cases in a healthy individual may require no treatment. Those with a suppressed immune system may need hospitalization. Antifungal medications such as Diflucan will be prescribed. Side effects of the medication are nausea, vomiting, and headache. Tylenol can be used for minor pain and fever. No special diet is needed. Bed rest may be needed until fever and cough disappears.

The DOs
• Rest until the fever and cough subside.
• Take Tylenol for minor pain and fever.
• Take the antifungal medication until finished.
• Maintain adequate fluid intake and nutrition. Try small frequent meals if nausea is a problem.
• Keep follow-up appointments. Frequent visits to your doctor are needed to detect recurrence of the disease.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t skip doses or stop taking the antifungal medication.
• Don’t miss follow-up appointments with your doctor.
When to Call Your Doctor
• If you cannot tolerate the medication because of nausea and vomiting.
• If unexplained weight loss occurs.
• If a high fever develops during treatment.
• If a severe headache, neck stiffness, or blurred vision occurs.

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