State health officials are warning of a resurgence in vaping-related lung injuries that have similar symptoms to COVID-19.
According to the Minnesota health department, there have been 11 suspected cases in the last two months of severe lung injuries associated with vaping.
The median age of those patients: 18 years old. All needed hospitalization, with some needing intensive care units and ventilators.
According to health officials, the patients all had a history of vaping and most vaped THC, which is the most active ingredient in marijuana. Some also reported vaping nicotine-based products.
Health officials say it was tough diagnosing the patients because the symptoms — which included cough and shortness of breath — can be similar to the COVID-19 virus. Health care providers are now advised to watch for additional cases like this and conduct tests to rule out COVID-19.
Minnesota health commissioner Jan Malcolm says that, despite the vaping-related lung injury outbreak getting a lot of attention last year, the public health threat of vaping products has not gone away. Not only has there been a return of lung injury cases linked to vaping in Minnesota, but also in California. And many young people continue to vape.
Health experts continue to advise against vaping, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s because the virus has been known to attack the lungs, so a vaping habit could lead to someone having more severe complications from COVID-19.
More information on vaping-related lung injuries can be found on the Minnesota health department’s website. Also, resources for quitting vaping can be found at Quit Partner Minnesota.
On Aug. 1, a new law will go into effect in Minnesota banning the sale of tobacco to anyone under 21 years old.