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Who should receive flu vaccine?

Influenza, commonly known as “the flu”, is caused by the influenza virus. It can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people. A yearly flu shot is recommended for the following groups of people who are at increased risk for serious complications:

  • Persons aged 50 or older.
  • Adults and children older than 6 months of age who have chronic heart or lung conditions (including asthma), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, weakened immune systems due to medicine or by infection with HIV/AIDS.
  • Children and teenagers older than 6 months who are on long-term aspirin therapy and therefore at risk to develop Reye Syndrome after the flu.
  • Women who will be in their second or third trimester during flu season.
  • Health care providers.
  • All children 6 months or older interacting with anyone in the high risk group.

Recent research indicates that children who interact with the elderly should also be immunized to prevent influenza that could be problematic for the geriatric patient. However, those individuals who have an allergy to eggs, prior reaction to the vaccine and those who have had Guillion-Barre Syndrome should not receive Flu shots.

Remember, Flu vaccine can be administered with pneumonia vaccine.

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How important is it to finish the course of antibiotics I am taking?

Most of us are tempted to stop taking our antibiotics as soon as we start feeling better. Not finishing your course of antibiotics can lead to recurrent infection. That is because the weakest bacteria might have been killed with a shorter course, but the strongest bacteria is still left behind. So, in order to get rid of the infection completely it is necessary to kill all bacteria by taking the complete course recommended by your physician. Failure to take antibiotics as directed can also contribute to antibiotic resistance and cause these very effective drugs to become obsolete.

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I’ve just been diagnosed with high blood pressure. How important is it to keep checking my blood pressure?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a serious medical condition. When your blood pressure (BP) goes above normal range for a prolonged period of time, blood vessels become damaged and lose their ability to expand and contract. This problem increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, vascular disease in the legs and feet and sometimes kidneys. When you are first diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is advisable to have your BP checked on a weekly basis, unless otherwise directed by your physician. Once your BP is under control by weight loss, exercise and/or medication you should visit your physician once or twice a year, depending on the type of medication you are taking.

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How often should my child be seen by a physician for routine exams?

During infancy, children should be seen by a physician two weeks after birth, then again at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months and at 18 months to assure proper growth and development. We also take the time to answer any questions you may have. Whenever possible take your child to the same physician so she/he gets to know your child. Often times, a doctor familiar with your child can pick up any unusual behavior better than a physician who sees your child for the first time. During those visits feel free to ask as many questions as you like. The provider will be more than happy to answer them for you. During age 2 to 6 your child should be seen annually, then every other year during preteen and teen years.