Aspergillus is a mold found naturally in the soil, on plants, in moss, and in a pile of leaves. Open a window, and it enters your home. It’s everywhere. For most people, aspergillus never poses an issue. But, people with weakened immune systems can become very sick. February 1st is World Aspergillosis Day, a day meant to raise awareness of the seven diseases that aspergillus can cause. This is a situation where home health care providers can assist.
Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA)
ABPA is a form of aspergillosis where the mold spores irritate the lungs, but they don’t cause infection. Common symptoms include coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
Allergic Aspergillus Sinusitis
With allergic aspergillus sinusitis, your mom’s sinuses are irritated by the mold spores. It’s not much different from the way she feels with seasonal allergies. Symptoms include a runny nose, stuffed sinuses, loss of smell, and headache.
When the mold spores collect in the lungs, they can form what’s called a “fungal ball.” Aspergilloma comes with a cough, but that cough may produce blood. Shortness of breath is common.
Azole-Resistant Aspergillus Fumigatus
Your mom has one of the forms of aspergillosis, but it’s not responding to antifungal medications. Azole-resistant aspergillus fumigatus occurs when medications are no longer effective.
Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis
This is one of the more serious types of aspergillosis. The damage in the lungs is apparent. Fungal balls and/or fungi have created pockets or gaps within the lungs. This is a long-term condition that has symptoms like coughing up blood, shortness of breath, fatigue, and weight loss.
If your mom has a cut, burn, scratch, or incision, there’s a chance that aspergillus can get into the cut and cause an infection. It’s more likely to happen if a person has a weakened immune system.
With invasive aspergillosis, infections are serious and can spread from the lungs to other organs in the body. Symptoms are similar to those in chronic pulmonary aspergillosis, but a fever is also present with this form.
While some of the minor types of aspergillosis are not much different from allergies or a minor cold, some of them can be far more serious and require specialized treatments, including the use of antifungal medications and oxygen. Your mom may not want to be in a hospital for the entirety of these treatments.
Ask her doctors if it’s possible for her to get some treatments at home. With the expertise of home health care nurses, your mom can get IV fluids and medications administered in her home. She’ll have a nurse monitor her oxygen saturation levels, breaths per minute, and temperature.
Your mom can rest in her bed, in familiar surroundings, and still have expert care. Talk to a home health care agency to learn more about having nurses helping your mom at home.