HEALTHLINE: Vaping illness, or the flu? Doctors say both present similar symptoms

HEALTHLINE: Vaping illness, or the flu? Doctors say both present similar symptoms

WASHINGTON (Gray TV) - As researchers are learning more about the chemical compound behind the national outbreak of vaping illnesses, health care officials are facing seasonal problems associated with the industry.

“A little bit of coughing, wheezing, so forth…could be from the flu, or it could be from electronic cigarette use,” said Dr.Panagis Galiatsatos at Johns Hopkins.

Both, have similar symptoms and according to Galiatsatos, this flu season doctors are having trouble diagnosing.

“This is a new phenomenon for us…We are finding common diseases are becoming more prevalent…and then more unique diseases are being unearthed because of e cigarette use,” Galiatsatos said.

So far, thousands have fallen ill to what the CDC is calling an outbreak of vaping related lung injuries.

As more cases pop up across the country, President Trump and lawmakers from both sides of the isle discuss ways to address the growing health risks.

“I think we need to ban vaping for minors,” Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) said.

“I was a republican lead on the bill that says you have to sign for any electronic cigarette to order online,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) said.

Meanwhile, vaping advocates are rallying behind the industry.

Many, like American Vaping Association President Greg Conley say they used the popular devices to quit smoking.

“It was a watermelon flavor that helped me disconnect from the test of cigarettes,” Conley said.

When asked about concerns this flu season, Conley pointed to those who use illegally purchased products off the street.

"Those who are using illicit THC products should be worried regardless of what time of year it is,” Conley said.

So, what should you do? Tell the truth. Experts say your health depends on it.

“I tell every patient, I’m not your mother priest or rabbi…I hold no judgement just tell me what’s going on,” Galiatsatos said.

The CDC Recommends everyone six-months and older get a flu shot. That’s including people who use e-cigarettes and vaping products.

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