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article imageVaping suspected in severe lung damage in eight Wisconsin teens

By Karen Graham     Jul 26, 2019 in Health
Milwaukee - Eight teens from southeastern Wisconsin were hospitalized over the last month with severe lung damage believed to be linked to vaping.
The eight teens, from Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Winnebago counties, were brought to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin with extreme coughing, significant shortness of breath and fatigue. Some had lost weight from vomiting and diarrhea, hospital officials said Thursday, according to the Journal Sentinel.
"They come in not breathing well and look very sick," said Louella Amos, a pediatric pulmonologist with Children’s Hospital. She said the teens had gotten "to the point where they can't breathe." All the cases were classified as being "acute," rather than from chronic vaping abuse.
Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Meiman with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said it was unclear exactly what the teenagers had inhaled, but the number of patients, all coming in within such a short time-frame was very concerning.
He did say that in early interviews with the patients, nicotine, and THC, the compound in marijuana that makes a person high, were mentioned.
Thankfully, most of the teenagers were released from the hospital after responding to steroid treatment, and do not require oxygen at home. However, "We have a common theme of vaping," Meiman said. "We do not know of one product."
Three epidemiologists and a team from two bureaus are working on finding answers, he said. "Given the severity of the illness reported and that fact that it's affecting children, this is a top priority," he said.
Vaping is all the rage among teenagers today - having jumped 78 percent over the last few years, Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, said at a news conference on Thursday. He also urged doctors to contact authorities when they are faced with similar cases.
"Vaping in teenagers is something that is harming our kids," Gutzeit said. "Vaping is dangerous in teenagers no matter what the product." In the first half of 2019, poison control centers across the U.S. have received nearly 2,100 calls involving cases involving e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine.
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