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Intermountain Healthcare experts introduce vaping treatment guidelines

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – New treatment guidelines for vaping illnesses were announced Friday by experts at Intermountain Healthcare.

“This is the first time a guideline has been published,” said Dr. Dixie Harris, a pulmonologist.

The findings are published in The Lancet medical journal.

“What’s unique about our report is it has more patients than any other report to date,” said Dr. Colin Grissom, a pulmonologist.

From June 27th to October 4th, researchers identified 60 patients at 13 different Intermountain facilities suffering from pulmonary illnesses.

“Most of these patients are young men, although we’ve seen middle-aged women as well,” said Dr. Denitza Blagev, a Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician. “The majority of them have vaped THC. Although, there are definitely patients who have only vaped nicotine.”

Patients were experiencing abdominal pain and flu-like symptoms.

To treat them, outpatients were given moderate-doses of steroids. A higher dose was subscribed for critically ill patients.

Abnormalities in chest X-rays were also determined.

The concern now, symptoms associated with vaping illnesses are similar to the flu.

“As we get into flu season, it’s incredibly important for us to have a high index of suspicion in asking about vaping history so we can differentiate that,” said Dr. David Guidry, a Pulmonologist.

The guidelines come as health providers across the United States are identifying lung-injury cases caused by vaping.

There have been 1,888 cases since they first began being reported in March to the end of October of this year.

In Utah, 109 cases have been confirmed. As of October 28th, another seven cases are under investigation in the state.

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