Doctors urged to be on the lookout for vaping related illnesses

Doctors urged to be on the lookout for vaping related illnesses

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Santa Cruz County health officials say in the past week reports of vaping related illnesses have more than doubled across the country.

Now they're urging doctors to be on the lookout for symptoms that may at first seem like the common cold or flu. 

"What we are seeing is people presenting to their doctor's office with coughing, difficulty breathing, a fever sometimes they have nausea or vomiting, and sadly many of those cases are ending up needing respiratory support," said Santa Cruz County Health educator Tara Leonard.

There have been 57 cases of vaping related illness in California, one has resulted in death, Leonard said.

If these symptoms are reported to a doctor, Leonard said the doctor should ask about the patients vaping history and if possible, take the vaping device for further analysis. She said it's also critical for the doctor to report the information to the county Health Services Agency. 

One of the most concerning parts- officials do not know exactly what is causing the issues. 

"All of these people have reported vaping at some time in the past, some of them have been vaping THC, some of them have been vaping a combination of THC and nicotine liquids and some of them have just been vaping nicotine liquids. So right now it's too soon to know exactly what the cause is," said Leonard.

Leonard added that they are asking people to stop using these products until more is known. 

"They are not for children, they are not safe, and they are not a harmless water vapor. They actually emit chemical aerosol, so it's sadly not surprising that that chemical aerosol is not good for your body."

Health officials said if you are using vaping devices to quit smoking cigarettes, look for other FDA (Food and drug administration) methods first. If you do resort to vaping, they added to make sure you purchase the device from an authorized seller and do not tamper with it and only use it for what it is intended for.

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