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April McLevain - MatrixQ: If I got a flu shot last year, do I need another one this year?

Yes. There are a few reasons that it’s important to get a flu shot every year. When you get a flu shot, it doesn’t last forever. Over the course of a year, the vaccine isn’t as strong as when you first got it. To really fight the flu, you need a new flu shot every year.

Also, this year’s flu shot is different than last year’s. Each year, a new flu shot is developed to target the specific strains that will be most powerful this year. That means that this year’s flu shot is the only one that can best protect you from this year’s flu.

And just a reminder for everyone, a flu shot will not give you the flu. Get a flu shot today at your onsite Health Center to protect you — and those around you — from this year’s flu.

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Q: I’m on medication for a few different conditions and am concerned about harmful drug interactions. What can I do to lower the risk of this happening?

For starters, talk to your health coach. Every patient should know about the warnings for their medications and speak with a health care professional on this subject. Besides learning how drugs may interact with each other, everyone should have an idea how their medications could react with certain foods and beverages, as well as with various supplements, including popular herbal and muscle-building supplements. (more…)

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March Ask

Q: Is my family allowed to use the on-site Health Center?

Absolutely! Health Centers, located at most Alliance Coal locations, are available for employees and their family members. Some Health Centers feature a doctor or nurse, and others are staffed by a nurse practitioner (NP) who is fully licensed and qualified to provide similar services as a family doctor. From checkups and routine health care to treatment of injuries and chronic illnesses, the on-site Health Center is available for your whole family — with no office-visit copay! (more…)

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Q: With Alliance Coal’s health coverage, I have one or more prescriptions that will cost me 30%, 50%, or even 100% coinsurance starting in 2014. Who can help me identify other medications that would be free or cost me only 10%?



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Q: Should I wait to get my flu shot so it lasts as long as possible?

No. It is a common myth that getting your flu shot at the last second will make it last through the flu season. Recent data has shown that immunity from vaccines lasts throughout the flu season into the spring, and in many cases actually into the following year. The medical community now recommends that you get a shot as soon as they are available; there is no need to wait! – Dr. Bo




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raspberryiesQ: I’m trying to eat healthy, but there isn’t much fresh fruit available in the winter. Any other options?

You’re right. The fresh fruit options can be pretty limited this time of year, depending on where you live and what your grocery store offers. But, frozen fruit is also delicious and great for you. Most stores offer a nice selection of frozen berries, pineapple, peaches, and other fruits.

Just let it thaw and eat it, or add it to recipes. Canned fruit is a good option, too, but be sure to choose the kind that is in the fruit’s natural juices. Avoid cans with heavy syrup— they include too much added sugar and empty calories. Give these options a try and hang in there—the spring and summer fruits will be here before you know it!”

Looking for healthier lunch options? Check out some helpful tips in the What’s for Lunch? post.