Flu Season Complicates Diagnosis of Vaping Related Illness

As research on vaping continues, doctors say the more they learn, the less safe it seems.

Doctors across the country are trying to get a grip on vaping to understand just how toxic it might be. The issue is that vaping is dangerous new territory.

Vaping-related illness is on the rise across the country. 23 have already died from the phenomenon, according to the Center for Disease Control. The issue is that many people may be sick from vaping and not even know it.

It could be disguised as something much more common.

“[Symptoms] are very similar to an influenza type thing. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,” said Dr. Tom Peterson, a nicotine expert and vice president of quality and health at Traverse City Munson Medical Center. “So it can mask itself like it’s a bad influenza.”

The issue complicates things for doctors and emergency room staff.

“It complicates things because it is a new phenomenon,” said Dr. Peterson. “The problem, is we just don’t have all the answers right now.”

The major difference is that the flu has more upper respiratory symptoms.

“The influenza has an upper respiratory thing to it, so you have sore throat, runny nose, stuffiness, which you don’t have with the vaping disease,” said Dr. Peterson.

Vaping may not cause bacterial infections, either, so it won’t respond to antibiotics.

“Vaping reactive lung diseases are not from bacteria,” said Dr. Peterson.

80,000 people died from the flu last and a handful have died from vaping.

Both diseases are deadly, and in either case, if you experience shortness of breath, seek medical attention immediately.