Ask the Doctor: Flu shots, B12 vitamins, scoliosis

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 12:51 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every week on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1 (from Debra): “How long after having COVID should someone wait to get the flu shot?”

DR. BOB: The healthcare community has a lot of experience giving more than one vaccine at once.

When we give vaccines to infants, they often receive a few shots that contain vaccines against over five different organisms.

The CDC guidance recommends giving COVID vaccines regardless of the administration of other vaccines. Thus, general understanding would say you could receive flu vaccine and COVID vaccine at the same time.

Because COVID vaccines were developed more recently and there is not a hard and fast time that you must get the COVID vaccine and the flu vaccine, it would be reasonable to space them out a week or two.

If you think you may not follow up, it may be better just to get them the same day.

Question #2 (from Shauna): “My friend started taking B12 vitamins every day and has lost a lot of weight. Is that a coincidence, or do those pills actually help with weight loss?”

DR. BOB: Vitamin B12 is a very important vitamin for our health.

For people who are eating a varied diet of fruits, grains and meats, deficiency is uncommon. I am not aware of Vitamin B12 supplementation in people without B12 deficiency influencing weight loss.

It is possible if someone is deficient and they start taking B12 that they will feel better, which will help them exercise and diet more to lose weight.

However, I would not generally recommend taking B12 with the sole goal of losing weight.

Question #3 (from Erin): I have scoliosis and I also have a sciatic nerve down my left leg. Are the two related, and is there anything I can do to help with the pain?

DR. BOB: Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. It is common and ranges in severity.

Most people have only mild curvature, while some people can have a moderate or severe case. Scoliosis can increase the risk of chronic back pain or problems like sciatica.

For most people, we would treat this problem the same as if you did not have scoliosis. The treatment of sciatica is typically physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicines.

If some had severe scoliosis, it is possible that different surgical options would be considered to treat back pain.