Shots - Health News NPR's online health program.

Gustavo Perez got his influenza vaccine from pharmacist Patricia Pernal in early September during an event hosted by the Chicago Department of Public Health at the city's Southwest Senior Center. This year's flu season may strike earlier and harder than usual, experts warn. A flu shot's your best protection. Scott Olson/ Getty Images hide caption

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Scott Olson/ Getty Images

A controversial new drug for ALS that just received FDA approval could add months to patients' lives, but some scientists question whether it actually works. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

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Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

ALS drug's approval draws cheers from patients, questions from skeptics

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David Cave, a recovery coach who is part of an addiction specialty team at Salem Hospital, north of Boston, stands outside the emergency department. Jesse Costa/WBUR hide caption

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Jesse Costa/WBUR

After Frankie Cook's car accident on a wet road outside Rome, Ga., her father, Russell (right), got a lawyer's letter saying they owed a hospital emergency room more than $17,000 for scans and an exam to see if she had a concussion. Audra Melton for KHN hide caption

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Audra Melton for KHN

They were turned away from urgent care. The reason? Their car insurance

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Aerial view of downtown Fort Worth, Texas. Some hospitals in Texas and around the U.S. are seeing high profits, even as their bills force patients into debt. Of the nation's 20 most populous counties, none has a higher concentration of medical debt than Tarrant County, home to Fort Worth. Jupiterimages/Getty Images hide caption

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Jupiterimages/Getty Images

Montana health officials are seeking to increase oversight of nonprofit hospitals amid debate about whether they pay their fair share. The proposal comes nine months after a KHN investigation found that some of Montana's wealthiest hospitals, such as the Billings Clinic, lag behind state and national averages in community giving. Lynn Donaldson/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Lynn Donaldson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Allison Case is a family medicine physician who is licensed to practice in both Indiana and New Mexico. Via telehealth appointments, she's used her dual license in the past to help some women who have driven from Texas to New Mexico, where abortion is legal, to get their prescription for abortion medication. Then came Indiana's abortion ban. Farah Yousry/ Side Effects Public Media hide caption

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Farah Yousry/ Side Effects Public Media

Health officials are predicting this winter could see an active flu season on top of potential COVID surges. In short, it's a good year to be a respiratory virus. Left: Image of SARS-CoV-2 omicron virus particles (pink) replicating within an infected cell (teal). Right: Image of an inactive H3N2 influenza virus. NIAID/Science Source hide caption

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NIAID/Science Source

Flu is expected to flare up in U.S. this winter, raising fears of a 'twindemic'

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Bennett Markow looks to his big brother, Eli (right), during a family visit at UC Davis Children's Hospital in Sacramento. Bennett was born four months early, in November 2020. Crissa Markow hide caption

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Crissa Markow

The heartbreak and cost of losing a baby in America

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The drugmaker Amylyx is asking the FDA to approve a new medication for ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disease. It's possible the agency could greenlight the drug by the end of the month. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

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Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

FDA seems poised to approve a new drug for ALS, but does it work?

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Simply improving our breathing can significantly lower high blood pressure at any age. Recent research finds that just five to 10 minutes daily of exercises that strengthen the diaphragm and certain other muscles does the trick. SciePro/Getty Images/Max Posner/NPR hide caption

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SciePro/Getty Images/Max Posner/NPR

Daily 'breath training' can work as well as medicine to reduce high blood pressure

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A pharmacist prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots during an event hosted by the Chicago Department of Public Health at the Southwest Senior Center on September 09, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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Scott Olson/Getty Images

How Biden's declaring the pandemic 'over' complicates efforts to fight COVID

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Writer and health educator Marni Sommer is co-author of A Girl's Guide to Puberty & Periods, which aims to help young people ages 9 to 14 understand the changes that happen in puberty and what to expect when. Grow & Know/Screenshot by NPR hide caption

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Grow & Know/Screenshot by NPR

A pharmacy in New York City offers vaccines for COVID-19 and flu. Some researchers argue that the two diseases may pose similar risks of dying for those infected. Ted Shaffrey/AP hide caption

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Ted Shaffrey/AP

Scientists debate how lethal COVID is. Some say it's now less risky than flu

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President Biden speaks during an event Tuesday celebrating the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act on the South Lawn of the White House. The new law gives Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images hide caption

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Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images