With hundreds of people across the country, including at least five in Riverside County, suffering from a respiratory illness, Riverside County health officials urge those who use vaping products to stop until health officials can determine the cause.
There have been five deaths associated with the ailment nationwide, including one from Los Angeles County announced last week. More than 450 cases have been reported throughout the U.S.
Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser’s recommendation mirrors that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is spearheading a national investigation into the issue. Kaiser said those who use e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking should speak to their primary care provider for guidance on whether to continue.
“Until we figure this out, if you don’t need to vape, don’t,” Kaiser said in a prepared statement. “We don’t understand what’s causing this yet.”
In Riverside County, the pulmonary disease patients range in age from 15 to 50 and all have been hospitalized at some point. Some are now recovering at home. No clear pattern has emerged so far about what they were using to vape or the use of cannabis.
According to the CDC, patients in this investigation have reported symptoms such as:
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Fatigue, fever, or weight loss.
The CDC reports that some patients have indicated that their symptoms developed over a few days, while others have reported that their symptoms developed over several weeks. A pulmonary infection does not appear to be causing the symptoms, which have generally not improved with antibiotic treatment alone.
According to the New York Times, Juul Labs, the dominant e-cigarette company, violated federal regulations by selling its vaping products as a safe alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes without approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the agency said in a warning letter on Monday.
The FDA issued its warning amid a public health crisis over more than 400 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses that have hospitalized many young teenagers and adults, and possibly five deaths, according to the New York Times.
- Vape: Image by haiberliu from Pixabay