Remember Vaping Injuries? They’re Climbing Again In Some Places, But Covid-19 Makes Them Harder To Diagnose

News

TOPLINE

Health officials are again seeing a rise of e-cigarette or vaping  related lung disease—possibly a result of pandemic-related stress use—though the symptoms are so similar to those of Covid-19 that it’s become harder to diagnose. 

KEY FACTS

The 10 symptoms associated use-associated lung injury (EVALI), are shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, fever and chills, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat and rapid and shallow breathing—the first eight of which overlap with Covid-19 symptoms. 

“EVALI is still happening, and on the rise again as people use vaping to cope with pandemic stress,” Dr. Denitza Blagev, a pulmonary medicine physician at Intermountain Healthcare, told ABC 4.

Patients in California suspected of EVALI must first test negative for Covid-19 before being treated for EVALI.

It took California doctors a median of three days (with a range of one-to-eight days) to diagnose EVALI patients with the condition, suggesting it may not be the first priority.

Minnesota health officials reported 11 EVALI cases in the last two months and all EVALI patients in the state (who were a median of 18-years-old) required hospitalization—and some needed ventilators, AP reports via U.S. News & World Report.

Suprising Fact

The CDC discontinued its collection of EVALI case reports in February due to a decline in frequency.

Big Number

2,800. That’s how many people had contracted EVALI as of February—68 of whom died from the condition, according to ABC 4.

Crucial Quote

“Because EVALI and COVID-19 signs and symptoms can be similar (e.g., cough, fever, and diarrhea), health care providers should maintain clinical suspicion for EVALI during the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote researchers in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report via CDC.

Key Background

In California, 75% of hospitalized EVALI patients said they used vaping products with THC during interviews from June 2019 to February 2020. The CDC has said that vitamin E acetate is the probable cause of most EVALI cases.

Further Reading

Minnesota Sees Return of Vaping-Related Lung Injuries (AP via U.S. News & World Report)

E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) (Yale Medicine)

Notes from the Field: E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use–Associated Lung Injury Cases During the COVID-19 Response (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report via CDC)

Vaping injuries climbing, more difficult to diagnose during time of COVID-19 pandemic; Proper Diagnosis is key (ABC 4)

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