Flu season is here. In fact, 12 North Alabama counties already have reported cases.
This season, doctors will battle a complication, a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping.
WAAY 31 spoke to a man, Brandon Wilson, who says he vaped for two years on a regular basis. Just two months ago, when vaping-related deaths and illnesses started to make headlines, he decided that was enough for him to stop.
"I don't think I'll use mine until they deem it safe for us or tell us not to use it at all," he said.
An Auburn professor and doctor, Linda Gibson Young, has been researching the effects of electronic cigarettes for two years now.
"What we're doing is stopping the body from being able to respond appropriately," she said.
She says since vaping causes a thick mucus in the lungs, it makes it difficult for the body to get rid of a virus or bacteria.
"That doesn't allow these infections to be inhaled or exhaled through a sneeze," she said.
Young adds even just placing a vaping device on a counter or a bar exposes users to infections. While the flu season isn't anywhere near its peak in North Alabama, doctors are on stand-by, prepared to see severe cases.
People WAAY 31 talked to said it's not hard to believe there's a correlation and a nasty season could be ahead.
"You're already damaging your lungs by using those. I think you would be more susceptible to getting the flu," Wilson said.
- Alabama doctors say vaping-related illness could complicate flu season
- Alabama health officials investigating 15 reported cases of lung-related illness linked to vaping
- 2nd vaping-related illness found in Alabama, Department of Public Health says
- Alabama asking doctors to report serious illnesses patients might have from vaping
- Alabama Health Department investigates lung illnesses tied to vaping
- After vaping-related illness, teen now has lungs like 'a 70-year-old's'
- Alabama investigating 53 potential flu-related deaths in 3 weeks
- Student who died from flu-complications had cystic fibrosis
- Huntsville Jr. High student dies from complications of flu
- 2019 Flu Season Coverage