Those who have been watching the news recently have likely heard about the mysterious vaping illness that is sweeping the country. Already, hundreds of people have been hospitalized, including several in the Bryan College Station area. More than a dozen people nationwide have died. The CDC and FDA are investigating to identify the exact cause of the illness, but it is certainly related to vaping in some way. Another factor that remains unknown is if the frequency of this illness will increase in the setting of more routine respiratory infections that are so common as the temperature starts to drop outside.  But professionals are concerned there will be an increase in this disorder as flu season develops.

Signs and Symptoms of a Vaping-Related Illness

Importantly, this vaping related illness has thus far been limited to those who have used a vaping product at some point in the past thirty days. So, if you, or someone you know has used a vaping product recently and develop respiratory symptoms, here are some signs and symptoms to watch for:

Persistent Cough

When vaping, the chemicals in the mixture are heated to a high temperature until they turn into vapor. Many of these chemicals, such as propylene glycol or formaldehyde, can cause serious irritation when inhaled deeply into the lungs. As a result, people suffering from this ailment usually complain of a persistent cough.

Shortness of Breath and Chest Pain

Shortness of breath and/or chest pain are also common. These symptoms might simply be the result of the coughing which can fatigue the muscles of the chest.  Or the chemicals being inhaled can cause damage to the airways, causing pain with breathing and hindering movement of oxygen into the blood. If this damage becomes severe enough, it can lead to low blood oxygen and, rarely, even death.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Individuals with this illness often experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Currently, the exact reason vaping causes digestive problems is unclear. Regardless, if a vaper develops these symptoms, with or without respiratory symptoms described above, that individual should seek medical care right away.

Fever and Fatigue 

These two symptoms go hand in hand. As is the case when fighting the flu, for example, these symptoms develop when the body is fighting something foreign.  While the exact cause of the fever and fatigue remain unclear, these symptoms in a vaper should cause concern.

Seek Medical Care for a Serious Respiratory Illness

While the above are some of the most common symptoms, anyone who has recently vaped and develops concerning symptoms of any kind should seek immediate evaluation.  This illness can be deadly.

At CapRock Health, we are fully prepared to evaluate any illness, including vaping related illnesses.  We stand ready to help if you need us!