At least six young people have been hospitalized recently in Illinois after experiencing severe breathing problems possibly related to vaping, health officials say.
The young people experienced symptoms including chest pains, shortness of breath, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea after vaping in the days and weeks leading up to their hospitalization, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday.
“IDPH is working with local health departments and hospitals to investigate reported cases of hospitalized individuals with unexplained respiratory illness and a history of vaping,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “The short- and long-term effects of vaping are still being researched, but these recent hospitalizations have shown that there is the potential for immediate health consequences.”
IDPH said they have been unable to identify the exact chemicals leading to these symptoms, as it was not immediately clear which vaping products the young people were using or where they were obtained.
The majority of cases were reported in northeast Illinois, with a few identified in the St. Louis-area.
IDPH is investigating five more possible cases of vaping-related illness, in addition to the six hospitalizations.
Anyone experiencing chest pains or difficulty breathing after vaping should seek immediate medical attention, officials said.