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Posted on: September 9, 2019

Health Alert: Vaping-Related Respiratory Illness

Image of individual vaping with smoke surrounding

Health Alert: Vaping Related Respiratory Illness

Many states are reporting cases of severe respiratory illness among individuals who have a recent history of vaping (use of e-cigarette and similar devices to inhale aerosolized liquid). In Illinois, cases have been seen in Chicago and the collar counties mostly among young people from 15 to 27 years of age. 

The Skokie Health Department urges people to stop using e-cigarettes while the investigation is underway and to avoid buying products off the street or modifying them in any way. The affected individuals all reported vaping in the weeks to months prior to illness. Products used have contained THC, CBD, nicotine, flavors and other chemicals.  At this time, no specific product or device has been determined to be the cause. Symptoms of the illness include coughing, shortness of breath, fever, chest pain, headache, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The symptoms typically worsen over a period of days or weeks before hospital admission. The majority of patients have required hospitalization.

If you have been vaping and begin to experience any of these symptoms, stop vaping and see a doctor right away.  Save your vaping device as the products may need to undergo testing to identify the source of this new illness. For up-to-date information please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html#recommendations-public.

To help identify what substance is causing the severe respiratory illness associated with vaping, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced an anonymous online survey asking Illinois residents who vape and have NOT become ill to provide information about their vaping habits. The results of this survey will be compared with the information obtained from those who have become ill. This survey is anonymous and no personal information will be collected. The Skokie Health Department encourages residents who vape to complete the survey. Access the survey here.

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