Flu Season Could Make It Tougher To Understand Vaping Illness

Matt Bigler
September 27, 2019 - 12:55 pm
Christopher Chin blows puffs on an e-cigarette as he waits for customers at Gone With the Smoke Vapor Lounge on May 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Health experts are warning that the coming flu season could make it harder to diagnose the rising number of illness related to vaping.  

The symptoms of vaping-related illnesses and influenza are strikingly similar, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, a public health official in Seattle. Fever, weakness and a cough could be signs of either affliction, he said. 

This will make it tougher for doctors to properly diagnose their patients' conditions, Duchin said. 

"In some cases, the test will be able to sort that out quickly," said Duchin. "But in others, if they're positive for influenza and they're positive for a history of vaping, it's going to be a little more challenging sorting that out."

The number of cases nationwide of vaping illness jumped to 805 from 530 in the past week. There have also been 13 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Duchin urges everyone to stop vaping now while researchers study what's responsible for the outbreak.