WASHINGTON (GRAY DC) — Fever, chills, shortness of breath.
Are these symptoms of the flu, or vaping related lung illness?
“A little bit of coughing, wheezing, so forth,” said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos with Johns Hopkins Medicine. “It could be from electronic cigarette use.” Both, have similar symptoms. This flu season, Dr. Galiatsatos says health care providers are having trouble diagnosing patients.
“This is a new phenomenon for us,” he said. “We are finding common diseases are becoming more prevalent and then more unique diseases are being unearthed because of e-cigarette use.”
So far, thousands have fallen ill to what the CDC is calling an outbreak of vaping related lung injuries.
As more cases pop up across the country, President Trump and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are discussing ways to address the growing health risks.
Meanwhile, vaping advocates are rallying behind the industry. Many, like American Vaping Association President Greg Conley, say they used the popular device to quit smoking.
“It was a watermelon flavor that helped me disconnect from the test of cigarettes,” said Conley.
When asked about concerns this flu season, Conley pointed to those who use illegally purchased products off the street.
“Those who are using illicit THC products should be worried regardless of what time of year it is,” he said.
So, what should you do?
Tell the truth. Experts say your health depends on it.
“I tell every patient, I’m not your mother priest or rabbi," said Dr. Galiatsatos. “I hold no judgment, just tell me what’s going on.”
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot. That’s including people who use e-cigarettes and vaping products.