Auburn professor: Vaping, flu season poses major challenges

Auburn professor: Vaping, flu season poses major challenges

AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - You’ve seen reports about vaping. You’ve seen reports about the flu. But have you seen any reports about the two?

Auburn University School of Nursing Professor Linda Gibson-Young studies the effects that vaping has on the lungs. She says those who vape could face major challenges if they were to get the flu.

“The lungs are still developing until the age of 22,” she says. “And when patients are introducing the electronic vapor into the lung tissue, we are seeing significant concerns. The lung tissue is very thick and viscous, which is similar to a cystic fibrosis patient,” she adds.

“Our young youth, especially those that are still learning and, um, trying out new things, they inhale rather quickly,” Gibson-Young explains, “and before they know it they’ve already inhaled that entire Juul pod, which is equal to twenty cigarettes.”

So what’s the concern?

“Having the thick mucus is problematic because it’s difficult to get rid of viruses, bacteria, and often harbors into what we term as pneumonia in the lung tissue,” the professor says.

As of October 1, there have been 19 possible cases of vaping-associated illness in Alabama, including one confirmed death.

Gibson-Young says hundreds of students and college-age patients are being reported at emergency rooms for respiratory distress and “when we collect that history, we’re seeing the use of electronic cigarettes. That’s concerning to us,” she says.

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