PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- According to local doctors, Arizona is not even in the middle of Valley Fever season, but cases are still rising. Part of the reason has to do with how nice its been outside, and more people have been getting out.
But with so much attention surrounding COVID-19, some people may be missing the signs. Headaches, fever, cough, and chills - sound familiar? We aren't talking about COVID.
Dr. Frank Lovecchio, Arizona Emergency medicine doctor, said that many symptoms overlap when diagnosing Valley Fever and COVID. You'll need a blood test to know which one you have, but one thing's for sure, while coronavirus numbers are trending down—Valley Fever cases are on the rise in the state.
"Anytime there's dust floating around, that's where the fungus lives," said Lovecchio.
"The flu looks like COVID-19, and Valley Fever looks like both of them to a degree, Valley Fever we call sometimes the great masquerader. If you live here long enough, more than likely you'll get it, for every year you live here, you get a 5 percent increase the chance of you having it," said Lovecchio.
This year, there have been 18,021 hundred cases reported, nearly three times the number of cases during the same time in 2019. Every year on average, nearly 100 people die of Valley Fever in Arizona.
For most people, symptoms will go away on their own, though no one is certain why the disease is on the rise. One of the leading theories is believed to be climate change.