JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As vaping illnesses and deaths climb across the country, health officials warn vaping could make flu season worse.
They say symptoms of lung damage from vaping - cough, shortness of breath, fever - can sometimes even mimic those of the flu.
“There have been reports since the beginning of April of about 13-hundred individuals that have had serious lung damage because of vaping,” said Dr. Gailen Marshall, Chief of the Division of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology at UMMC.
Last month the first death associated with vaping was reported right here in Mississippi.
“People who vape are actually putting cousins of anti-freeze into their lungs and, not surprising, their lungs don’t react well to that,’ said Marshall.
The CDC continues to investigate the outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries nationwide.
Dr. Gailen Marshall is the Chief of the Division of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology at UMMC.
He points out that as we enter the flu season, vaping-related illnesses and severe cases of the flu can equal life-threatening problems.
“The scary thing in these people that have this lung disease described, they seem to have almost exactly the same symptoms, they get achiness, they get fever, they get cough, they get difficulty in breathing. Very similar that happens in flu. But there’s doesn’t get better and it has the potential to get worse and some people actually die from it.”
He recommends if you vape or have an underlying lung disease, pay extra attention to your bodies and don’t ignore the signs.
“My suggestion if you do both, meaning they do vape and they are susceptible to the flu, we all are, is to number one make sure you get your flu vaccine. Number two, if they develop for 24-hours symptoms like aches, they are developing fever, even a low fever then that person should get to a doctor sooner, so they can get tested. They can do a flu swab to see if they got influenza and if they come earlier enough there are certain inventions that can be done.”