Ask the Doctor: booster shots, kidney stones & more

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 4:15 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every week to answer your medical questions.

A lot of people may be wondering who is eligible to get a booster shot for COVID-19? And are side effects likely?

DR. BOB: There are three different options for a vaccine in the United States: Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna. Let’s discuss the booster recommendations for each.

The CDC recommended a booster for any adult who received the Johnson and Johnson over 2 months ago. As you may remember, Johnson and Johnson has caused rare blood clotting complications. For anyone who is at an increased risk of blood clot, they may want to consider getting a Pfizer or Moderna booster instead of another Johnson and Johnson.

For Pfizer and Moderna, anyone over 65 is eligible for a booster 6 months after their second dose. Also, anyone ages 18-65 who has an underlying medical condition or living in a long-term care setting or working in a high-risk environment. Side effects are thought to be similar to the first round of vaccines.

Moderna is a lower dose than the first round, as it was shown to be as effective but cause less side effects.

Our next question is from Rob. He says “I have a family history of bad kidney stones and I’m worried about getting them as I get older. What can I do to prevent them?”

DR. BOB: Kidney stones can be caused from a number of different chemicals. The most common are calcium oxalate stones. If you are concerned about developing kidney stones and want to prevent them, I would recommend the following:

  • Drink enough fluid every day to produce at least 2 liters of urine.
  • Limit salt intake to less than 2.3 grams.
  • Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  • Work on losing weight.

If you know what type of kidney stones your family has, you can talk with your doctor about more specific ways to decrease your risk such as decreasing fructose and animal-protein in your diet.

Our last question is from Jack. He says “I am trying to get back into running, but my knees are bad from getting older and years of being overweight. Should I switch to a better sport like swimming? And is there a way to help my knees get better without surgery?”

DR. BOB: This is a common question and one that I am excited to hear. I am always encouraged when patients are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It is definitely possible to improve knee pain without surgery. As you point out, being overweight can contribute to knee pain as your knees must bear the extra load.

Trying to lose weight through swimming and diet changes will help your knees feel much better. I would also encourage you to look into some specific stretches and exercises to help your knees. Finally, I would recommend walking before running. Running is fairly high impact, and you probably want to start with a milder exercise first.

If you have a medical question for Dr. Cassady, you can leave a post on the 16 News Now Facebook page.

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