Vaping-related lung illnesses send 2 to the ICU in North Carolina

Two people, both in their early 20s and otherwise healthy, have recently been admitted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s intensive care unit (ICU) and placed on life support with severe lung disease, authorities said. 

Doctors suspect the illnesses are the result of using electronic cigarettes with liquids that contain cannabis products including THC.

According to Peter J. Miller, M.D., assistant professor of critical care medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health, these illnesses are difficult to diagnose, since the symptoms – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and a dry cough for several days – often resemble those of an upper respiratory infection or influenza.

“While we do not yet know the long-term effects for these patients, both of them seem to be recovering and are very lucky to be alive,” Miller said. “People really need to be aware, since we don’t know exactly what is in these products or their origin, especially when they’re bought online or off the street.”

The CDC is investigating a multi-state outbreak of severe pulmonary disease with more than 450 possible cases in 33 states, including six confirmed deaths.