The outbreak of vaping-associated lung injuries this summer and fall can officially be attributed to vitamin E acetate in THC-containing vaping products, the Centers for Disease Control said today. The new confirmation of the link between the chemical and the injuries came after a new study found it in nearly all of the lung fluid samples from a new set of patients.
As of December 17, 2,506 people have been hospitalized with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI), according to the CDC. There have been 54 deaths. The injuries started increasing in June before peaking in September, new CDC data indicates, and the number of visits to emergency departments for vaping-associated injuries have been declining since.
“It is clear that the outbreak represented a new phenomenon,” said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, during a press conference. “It’s not a recognition of a common syndrome that had evaded our attention.”
Vitamin E acetate was first identified as a key focus of a statewide investigation in New York in September. It was later described as a chemical of concern by the CDC in November, after it was found in every one of a set of 29 lung fluid samples tested by the agency. Investigators also found that most patients with EVALI reported using THC-containing vaping products before their injury. Product testing by the Food and Drug Administration has found many of those products are contaminated with the chemical. It hasn’t been found in nicotine-only vaping products.
In the new study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, clinicians collected lung fluid samples from 51 patients with either confirmed or probable EVALI. Vitamin E acetate was found in 48 of the samples — 94 percent. The majority of the patients also had THC in their lung fluid samples. Of the 11 patients who said they had not used THC products in the 90 days before their injury, nine had detectable levels of THC.
This set of patient samples was also compared to those from a group of 99 healthy people without EVALI, who were either e-cigarette smokers (with nicotine only), traditional cigarette smokers, or non-smokers. None of the samples from healthy people had vitamin E acetate, including those from the e-cigarette smokers.
The combination of this new data, along with previous reports and product analysis, allowed the CDC to conclude that the chemical was responsible for the outbreak. “The very large increase in cases is attributable to what was happening in this past year in the supply, with vitamin E acetate diluting or tainting THC products,” Schuchat said. In Minnesota, for example, THC-containing products from 2018 did not contain vitamin E acetate, but products from 2019 did.
Vitamin E acetate is a safe dietary supplement and ingredient in topical lotions and creams, but when it’s inhaled, it may interfere with proper lung function. Heating the chemical in a vaporizer can also cause it to break down into a compound called ketene, which can irritate the lungs. More studies are underway to figure out how vitamin E acetate might cause the type of damage seen in EVALI patients. “We don’t have to hold our breath for those results, but they’ll be helpful for us to go a little deeper in understanding the problem,” Schuchat said.
She stressed, though, that there may be more than one chemical causing these injuries. Not every patient with EVALI reported using THC-containing products, and not every tested product associated with an injury contained vitamin E acetate. “This does not mean there are not other substances in e-cigarettes or vaping products that have or are capable of causing lung injury,” she said.
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
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