Late Fall 2011
Ask the Experts
Steven Benaderet, MD (left) and Kyle Custis, MD

Q: Which vitamin supplements should I take?

Family Medicine physician Steven Benaderet, MD, responds:

A: Supplements are gaining in popularity, and more and more adults are taking fish oil, calcium, and/or vitamins D, CoQ10 and B.

These over-the-counter supplements can be very beneficial for your health, but before you add one or more to your routine, it is important to talk to your doctor. He or she can advise you about the right dosage for your health, weight, age and/or other factors. More importantly, your doctor can tell you about any possible side effects and check to see if a supplement could interact with a medication or prescription that you currently take.

Of course, the best way to get these nutrients is by eating real foods: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy products, etc. Supplements are a great way for people with certain health conditions to get the boost they need.

Q: Could I get the flu from the flu vaccine?

Family Medicine physician Kyle Custis, MD, responds:

A: The seasonal flu vaccine is approved for use in people older than six months, including healthy people and those with chronic medical conditions. An annual shot remains the single best way to protect yourself from getting the flu.

There is a widely circulating myth that people can develop the flu from the vaccine which, unfortunately, frightens some from getting this important shot. The truth is, no, you will not get the flu from the vaccine. The viruses contained in a flu shot are dead (the viruses in the nasal spray are weakened), and therefore cannot cause infection.

A few days after receiving the flu vaccine, some people experience flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue or a runny nose. Usually these symptoms last a day or two and are not the flu. However, if the symptoms last longer than a few days, or if you develop a fever, please notify your physician.

In addition to the flu vaccine, talk to your doctor about other vaccines you may need, or may be due to receive, specifically, vaccines for pneumonia and/or shingles. These can offer very effective protection against these common yet uncomfortable conditions.

The offices of Dr. Benaderet and Dr. Custis are located at Westport Family Medicine, 129 Kings Highway North, Westport, CT 06880. Phone: 203-221-3030. Members of Northeast Medical Group.