Tenn. Dept. of Health: Respiratory illness case in East Tenn. possibly linked to vaping

Respiratory illness possibly linked to vaping

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed a case of respiratory illness in East Tennessee that could be linked to vaping.

This comes after a patient died in Illinois after being hospitalized with a similar respiratory illness, which could be the United States' first death tied to vaping.

"It's a problem. It's a national problem, and it does cause serious heart problems, serious lung problems, and it can kill you,” said Dale Criner, St. Francis Emergency Department medical director.

It's a national trend, a growing number of cases of illnesses associated with e-cigarette or vaping use.

Doctors in Memphis say they've seen an increasing number of patients coming in with respiratory problems.

“I have noticed an increase of asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis-related illnesses. And many of those people that come in do admit to using e-cigarettes or vaping,” said Criner.

A recent CDC report says 193 potential cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette product use has been reported by 22 states, not including Tennessee.

On Wednesday, the Knox County health department confirmed with the Tennessee Department of Health that someone has a case of respiratory illness that could be related to e-cig use.

Knox County Health Department says that person is expected to recover.

Now the Tennessee Department of Health is asking health care providers to report any possible cases of serious respiratory illnesses among patients who use e-cigs or vaping devices.

Symptoms of these illnesses include cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Health department officials say if you vape, watch to see if the symptoms get worse over a period of days or weeks.

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