Welcome Interested Fungus Readers!

We hope this blog brings insight to the world of health and it's relationship to fungus. Comments are encouraged. Better health is a must.

Friday, April 30, 2010

C. gattii Invasion!

In mid-April online news broadcast a story about a species of fungus which migrated from its usual tropical and subtropical climates to the northwestern coast of the United States. It was first discovered when 200 people became infected with the fungus on Vancouver Island in British Columbia in the late 90’s. Experts say it may have arrived in North America by importation of trees and plants, and more than a decade later has travelled along the coast of Oregon and Washington. Northern California is potentially the next target.

The airborne fungal spores - Cryptococcus gattii, or C. gattii - can harbor themselves in the body for 2 to several months, and cause some life-threatening symptoms. Researchers are mainly concerned about the intensely toxic fungal spores inhabiting a non-specific group - any age range, different backgrounds, non-smokers, and has also affected some domestic and wild animals.

For humans, the symptoms include shortness of breath, an extremely painful persistent cough, headache, fever, and night sweats. Antifungal treatments are the most effective, taking 10 to 12 months to eliminate symptoms. One woman told CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) the cough was severely painful and it took a year to build her energy levels to normal.

There isn’t a preventative for infection, but don’t let this alarm you. Anyone living on the Northwestern coast of the United States should be aware of the symptoms and should be tested for the C. gattii fungal infection, beginning an antifungal regimen immediately. Or, for precautionary measures, start taking daily doses of antifungals and probiotics to decrease the severity of the infection or keep it from initially taking over your body.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Scary Word

Why is it that fungus is generally thought of in an unsavory manner? It could be because fungus is associated with rot, old food in the refrigerator, unsightly looking material in the garbage can, and unusually colored organisms that grow in the backyard or woods. If the fungus isn't visible it can be noticed by its distinct smell, especially mold in the home. Fungus can grow just about anywhere it feels advantageous, especially in dark, moist areas.

There are many people who are unfamiliar with fungus, it's origin, background, and its effects on the human body. A woman called our office the other day and said her face was breaking out because she started taking Olive Leaf Extract. Without hesitation, she was told, "It's just the fungus being killed off." She was horrified. Fungus!

A larger number of people have heard of fungus, or yeasts and molds, because it's visible in our homes, yet fungus in the body is more discreet. Our association with Doug Kaufmann, a fungal expert, and host of Know the Cause has increased our awareness of the internal effects on humans. Doug says "localized or systemic (throughout the body) mycoses (fungi) are not rare." In fact, fungal disease was more widely talked about in the medical field before the prevalence of bacteria and viruses. Everyone has some type of fungus in the body because we have all been exposed to antibiotics, birth control pills and polluted air, food and water.

The next time fungus is mentioned, remember, it's not just related to the home. It can be eliminated from the home and from the body if carefully approached. Don't let fungus scare you, either, because we are humans and we have the ability to overcome anything if we try.