• Doctors adding the flu to list of potential health risks associated with vaping

    By: Julie Leonardi

    Updated:

    With flu season approaching, doctors are adding the virus to the long list of potential health risks associated with vaping.

    "It actually diminishes the host, the patient's response to exposure to viruses or bacteria and in particular, influenza virus, many of the studies have just talked about that and it does cause inflammation in the lung tissue which can make it more difficult to fight infection," said Kristina Orio, a doctor at AFC Urgent Care in Dedham.

    Orio says 75% of vaping products contain the same material you would find in a fog machine, which can cause severe inflammation and toxicity in the lungs, making your battle against the virus even more difficult. 

    "Flu can last five to 10 days to begin with, it may be less so if you're a vaccinated patient but if you're someone who smokes or uses e-cigs or Juuls, uses these vaping products, it may take you much longer to recover," said Orio. 

    The risk for spreading bacteria could be increased with sharing the devices. Just like sharing water bottles or not washing your hands, spreading bacteria can lead to a greater risk of developing the flu. 

    "It's logical to think if patients were sharing a Juuling device or an e-cigarette it could pass influenza back and forth and other viruses as well," said Orio. 

    Doctors are now asking patients upon basic examinations whether or not they use vaping products. 

    "The alarming thing is really that you can actually have side effects from vaping and have vaping associated respiratory illness whether or not you vaped five minutes ago or you were exposed many weeks ago, so history taking is very important from the provider patients to make sure we're screening patients for this possibility when they have respiratory symptoms," Orio said. 

    Doctors are urging patients to vaccinate for the flu as early as possible and for patients to talk with their kids about the dangers of vaping. 

    >> What is the flu? 17 things to know about flu symptoms, flu shot side effects and more

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