SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received reports of six young people experiencing severe breathing problems after vaping, and is investigating five more individuals. These individuals experienced respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Some also experienced vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms worsened over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital.
“IDPH is working with local health departments and hospitals to investigate reported cases of hospitalized individuals with unexplained respiratory illness and a history of vaping,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “The short- and long-term effects of vaping are still being researched, but these recent hospitalizations have shown that there is the potential for immediate health consequences.”
IDPH is also working with local health departments, other states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the names and types of vaping products, as well as where they were obtained. Without this information, we have been unable to conclusively determine which chemicals the individuals may have been exposed to.
The cases live in the northeastern part of the state, as well as in the St. Louis Metro East area. In order to protect the identity of the affected individuals, additional information is not being provided.
People who experience any type of chest pain or difficulty breathing after vaping in the weeks or months prior to these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. Health care providers caring for patients with unexpected serious respiratory illness should ask about a history of vaping.
More information about e-cigarettes, vapes, and JUULs can be found on the IDPH website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/tobacco/e-cigarettes-and-vapes.