Spring is here. The weather is getting warmer and the baby birds are all chirping in their nests. They are so cute. But sometimes those nests aren’t built in trees. Instead, they are built in your gutters, chimneys, and even your dryer vents. We hate to remove them, but the damage these birds and their nests cause can be costly to your wallet, and in some cases lives. The material for theses nests are typically twigs, grass, paper, etc. – flammable material. When they are built in your chimney and dryer vent, you want to make sure they are removed, but properly. While they seem harmless, bird’s droppings carry histoplasmosis, an infectious fungus that can be fatal if it goes undiagnosed and untreated.
What is histoplasmosis?
Histoplasmosis is an infection that happens after breathing in spores of a fungus found in bird or bat droppings (WebMD, n.d.).
How is histoplasmosis transmitted?
Histoplasmosis is mostly transmitted through spores in the air, often stirred during cleanup and destruction projects (WebMD, n.d.).
What are the symptoms of histoplasmosis?
While many people do not experience some or any symptoms, untreated it can be very serious. The symptoms may be mistaken for the flue – fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, dry cough, and chest discomfort. Also, some people may experience joint pains or a rash. These symptoms usually appear within 1-3 weeks of exposure. Chronic histoplasmosis symptoms may include weight loss and cough that may bring up blood – very similar to tuberculosis symptoms (WebMD, n.d.).
How to avoid getting histoplasmosis?
Take precautions by keeping yourself and loved ones from touching birds, their nests, and droppings. If you need to remove a bird from your home (i.e. dryer vent or chimney), hire a professional that will take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and your loved ones from harm.