Health Risks With COVID-19. The new coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19 is from a family of viruses that causes respiratory infections. That’s why people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma are among individuals at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
IS QUITING VAPE THE BEST OPTION?
The new coronavirus responsible for the current pandemic causes mild symptoms for many. But those with underlying health concerns — including respiratory problems related to smoking or vaping — may be at higher risk for severe symptoms.
If you smoke or vape, you might feel as if you’re between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand, quitting may lower your risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms. On the other, you’re probably dealing with a ton of added stress and the thought of quitting right now feels pretty daunting.
Here’s a closer look at what we do and don’t know about smoking and vaping-related COVID-19 risks, as well as things you can do to reduce some of these risks — even if you aren’t ready to quit.
E-cigarettes were originally marketed as a smoking cessation aid. They contain fewer toxic chemicals than ordinary cigarettes, so many people see them as a safer alternative (aside from the whole lung injury thing).
How does COVID-19 harm the lungs? Health Risks With COVID-19
COVID-19 can damage the lining of the air sacs in the lungs (alveoli) where oxygen is delivered to the blood. As those sacs fill with fluid, dead cells, and other debris, it prevents oxygen from getting through. The filling up of the air sacs is what causes the typical white appearance of the lungs on a chest X-ray or CT scan of a patient with COVID-19 pneumonia or pneumonitis. The air sacs normally are full of air and appear black on radiographic studies. When the lungs have to work harder or when there is decreased oxygen supply to other body organs, more stress is placed on those organs, and they are more susceptible to failure.
What are some of the lung conditions caused by vaping or smoking that could make COVID-19 symptoms worse or cause serious complications?
Vaping can cause EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury), a broad descriptor of acute respiratory illness. As a result, It can manifest with shortness of breath, cough, and rapid and shallow breathing. Studies evaluating the pathological changes in the lungs of people who vape have described acute inflammation, damage to the air sacs that are necessary for oxygen exchange, and focal spots of pneumonia. All these changes may induce a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-like illness. I would expect that COVID-19 would amplify any of these changes.
SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 Health Risks With COVID-19
Shortness of breath
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:Fever or chills
- CoughShortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- FatigueMuscle or body aches
- HeadacheNew loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face.
Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.