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Health officials warn vaping could make you more vulnerable to the flu

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A new study from the Baylor College of Medicine shows that vaping could be making you much more vulnerable to the flu by disrupting your immune system. 

“So we’re finding more and more evidence of how damaging vaping is,” Dr. Jennifer Dillaha said.

RELATED: Doctors, business owners concerned amid vaping scare

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health said the flu has already hit Arkansas towns. She’s warning people that vaping could increase your chances of getting it this year.

“We see that also with smoking. People who smoke have a much harder time with the flu,” Dr. Dillaha said.

Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine found that mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor, even without the nicotine, had disrupted lung function. Dillaha said the vapor also disrupts the ability for the immune cells to respond to viral infections like the flu.

“They infected some of the mice with the flu and they did much worse than the mice that had clean air,” she said.

Even worse, Dr. Dillaha said this could increase your chances of the flu turning into pneumonia.

“People who smoke or vape will already have damaged lungs, so you’re having more damage on top of the damage that’s already there,” she said.

According to the study, more than three million high school students and 10 million adults in the U.S. actively vape. 

“So, we highly recommend the flu vaccine for these people,” Dr. Dillaha said.

But, Dr. Dillaha said the best protection is to stop vaping completely.

“I think that’s one reasons the report from this research is so important. This is the first time that it’s been demonstrated that just the solvent, not the nicotine, not the flavoring, the solvents themselves are damaging,” she said.

RELATED: Russellville School District sees decrease in student vaping

The flu shot takes about two weeks to take effect. Dr. Dillaha said if you continue to vape, then it’s best to get a pneomina vaccine as well.

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