ZocdocAnswersCould a fungus infection cause liquid to build in the lungs?

Question

Could a fungus infection cause liquid to build in the lungs?

My teenage son had a fungal infection on his mouth and nose that seemed to clear up after we followed our doctor's treatment course. Now, though, he has developed a very wet, gurgly cough. Is it possible that the fungus has migrated down into his lungs and is causing a fluid build up there?

Answer

A wet gurgly cough is indicative of mucus build up in the air passageways. This can be do to an infection in the lung passageways known as bronchitis, or in the lung itself known as pneumonia. In kids, a wet productive cough is usually due to a viral or bacterial infection. Viruses are easily spread from person to person and are very common. Bacterial infections are a little less common, but still do happen in kids and require antibiotics. Fungal infections in the lungs are very rare. The reason is that our immune systems are very good at getting rid of the fungus cells in the lung before they begin to grow. Therefore, fungal lung infections tend to occur only in people with damaged immune systems. I suggest you schedule an appointment with you son's primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history and perform a thorough physical exam of your son's lungs. If there are any concerning findings, then his doctor may perform a sputum culture to see if any fungus grows. More than likely, if he has an infection in the lungs it will be bacterial or viral. If it is fungal, then your son will need testing for an immunodeficiency syndrome. I hope he feels better

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