Valley health officials issue new warning over vaping after spike in respiratory illnesses

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At least seven people, in the last two weeks, have been treated at Adventist Health Medical Center with severe breathing problems.

"A local pulmonologist said they've seen a sharp increase in people with acute respiratory distress syndrome," said Kings County Department of Public Health director, Edward Hill.

The symptoms start out flu-like, shortness of breath, fatigue, a loss of appetite, nausea and confusion, but they can quickly escalate.

"We've had patients so sick that they've had to be admitted to the ICU and then put on mechanical ventilators so it can be quite serious," Hill said.

Each case brought to the hospital involved otherwise healthy adults, apart from one commonality, all the individuals were vaping THC or CBD, or a combination of both.

According to Hill, the vape cartridges were bought from pop-up shops.

"They pop up for a couple of hours they're advertised by word of mouth and then they close down and move on these pop-up shops are usually not licensed not regulated and they don't follow the safety practices a regular distributor would," he said.

Health experts say vaping is still a relatively new market, so studies about any adverse effects are still ongoing.

"There's been reported seizures in Wisconsin there are also young adults in Wisconsin and Illinois that are coming down with the same respiratory issues as here," Hill said.

Officials say anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

In the South Valley, officials are issuing the warning saying while it is legal in the state, it's best to buy from a licensed retailer.
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