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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Explained: Similar symptoms in Covid-19, lung injury caused by vaping

Published in SAGE Open Medical Case Reports, the study presents a case series of three teenagers who presented with breathing problems at University of California-Davis (UC Davis) Health during the pandemic.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: November 29, 2020 10:04:30 am
A doctor and a nurse take a chest x-ray of a patient at the intensive care unit for Covid-19 patients in the Andras Josa hospital in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2020 (Attila Balazs/MTI via AP)

Lung injuries caused by Covid-19 and its manifestations are similar to those caused by e-cigarettes and vaping, a new study has underlined. Published in SAGE Open Medical Case Reports, the study presents a case series of three teenagers who presented with breathing problems at University of California-Davis (UC Davis) Health during the pandemic. Eventually, they turned out to be Covid-negative, but each had a history of vaping.

Medical professionals use the acronym EVALI to describe e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury.

The study authors underlined that EVALI and Covid-19 share many symptoms but have very different treatment plans. They stressed that healthcare providers caring for paediatric patients with unexplained respiratory failure should also consider EVALI and ask for relevant smoking/vaping history.

Common symptoms between EVALI and Covid-19 include fever, cough, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. With the pandemic, it is easy to miss EVALI diagnosis, the researchers said.

In the case series described in the study, the patients showed up with fever, nausea and cough. They had fast heart rate, rapid breathing and low oxygen levels in their blood. Their test results pointed to inflammation commonly seen in Covid-19, but their SARS-CoV-2 testing returned negative. When the patients shared information about recent vaping, doctors could diagnose EVALI and treat them successfully with corticosteroids.

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Chest X-ray image on patient with lung injury due to vaping. (UC Davis Health)

Vaping shift

Another connection between vaping/substance use and the pandemic is highlighted in a different study, published in the same journal. A survey by Mayo Clinic researchers found shifts in vaping use among young adults after the pandemic began. These study, too, stressed the importance of screening for vaping and substance use during the pandemic.

The study covered patients visiting the outpatient departments across Mayo Clinic locations. Of 1,018 respondents, 542 reported vaping, or using marijuana, tobacco or alcohol, during the pandemic. The shifts observed:

  • Nearly 70% increased alcohol consumption.
  • Vaping decreased in 44% of people, and increased in 27.9%.
  • Tobacco product use decreased in 47.3% of people, while 24.1% of people increased use.
  • Of the 140 people who described a change in marijuana use, 39.2% increased use and 36% decreased use.

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