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Doctors concerned about vaping injury as cold and flu season kicks up

Posted at 8:36 AM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 23:47:20-05

Doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago tell the I-Team they're worried people who vape could be in even greater danger of severe injury as cold and flu season begins.

The doctors treated a Wisconsin native over the summer for vaping injuries that began looking like pneumonia. It wasn't until Allison Herger could barely breathe they realized she had the vaping disease.

"You just start looking for the pieces of the history that are going to help you," said Dr. Khalilah Gates, who treated Herger in the intensive care unit. "The piece of history that helped with Allison is her history of vaping."

The Centers for Disease Control report thousands of people have been hospitalized after vaping injury and nearly 50 have died. Herger was very close to needing a machine to breathe for her when Gates discovered she had vaping injuries, not pneumonia as her other doctors believed.

Gates tells us people who vape should be extra vigilant this cold and flu season because the symptoms of vaping injury look a lot like a cold or the flu.

She said vapers who see fever, cough, shortness of breath and/or nausea should get checked out by a doctor even if you think it's a cold or the flu because of the fatal risks of vaping injury.