In August 2019, the CDC began tracking cases of severe lung problems in people who vape. Thousands had lung damage that needed treatment in hospitals, and several died from the condition. Eventually, researchers tied these cases to vaping. The illness is now called e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI).
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Early Symptoms of EVALI
Although researchers know the condition is tied to vaping, theyâre not yet clear how it happens.
âWeâre still not exactly sure the exact cause of it, but there is an inflammatory response that occurs in the lung presumed due to something in the aerosol from vaping,â says Joanna Tsai, MD, a pulmonologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Someone with EVALI may have breathing and digestive problems, along with other symptoms, including:
- A hard time breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Belly pain
- Loss of appetite (not hungry)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
Whoâs Most at Risk
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Simply put, bladeless fans are fans without blades. They work by sucking in air at their base and then blowing them out through several holes in their ring. The fan is reported to have been invented by James Dyson, who calls it the "Air Multiplier." Just like the flying jetpack, it earned a spot in Time's list of notable inventions of 2009. And just like the jetpack, it was not the first of its kind. The first bladeless fan was actually patented in 1981 by a Japanese company called Tokyo Shiba Electric. Although Tokyo Shiba's bladeless fan was never manufactured, James Dyson's initial design of a bladeless fan design looked so similar to that of Tokyo Shiba Electric that the patent office refused to grant him a patent. The patent granted to Tokyo Shiba had already expired, but the patent office still required something substantially different before it could grant a new patent to James Dyson. Dyson's patent manager, Gill Smith, did not deny the similarities between both bladeless fans but said the difference between them was the "technology."
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You may be more at risk if the product youâre vaping has vitamin E acetate. The CDC says itâs the common chemical found in the lungs of people whoâve gotten sick. Vitamin E acetate comes from vitamin E. Itâs generally used to thicken liquids, particularly in e-cigarette or vaping products that have THC. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gets you high.
â[W]hen the outbreak of EVALI occurred with multiple deaths noted, we have learned that the majority of the individuals involved vaped THC, although there were still reports of people who vaped exclusively nicotine,â says Tsai.
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What to Do if You Have Symptoms
See your doctor right away if you vape any kind of product and get any of the above symptoms. Theyâll do a full exam and evaluation to rule out other illnesses, such as bacterial or viral pneumonia. You might get a chest X-ray or CT scan. Healthy lungs are filled with air and appear dark. The scan will show hazy-looking spots (opacities) if you have EVALI.
You may be given corticosteroids to lessen inflammation in the lungs. Or you might be put on a ventilator in severe cases. But itâs still not safe to go back to vaping if your doctor says itâs just a cold or stomach bug. While the CDC has several precautions for people who continue to use e-cigarettes or vape, it says the best way to avoid risk of EVALI is to quit vaping altogether.