Santa Monicans are a diverse group, but there’s one thing they have in common every year around this time – increased exposure to cold and flu germs. That means more sneezing, sniffling and coughing and an overall greater chance of getting sick. But there are things we can do to minimize the impact of this seasonal wear and tear on our minds and bodies through effective self-care and a focus on prevention.
“There’s no cure for the cold or flu but there are ways to help you feel better and more comfortable in your recovery,” says Mathias Schar, a primary care physician at Kaiser Permanente Santa Monica, which opened on Tenth Street and Broadway Avenue last May. Schar says it can take one to three weeks for a cold or flu to run its course. Once it does, it’s important to ease back into your routine slowly.
For children, who catch and spread colds frequently this time of year, Schar says it’s best to be proactive about monitoring their symptoms. Many children with a cold or flu feel better within a week, but some symptoms, like coughing, can last three weeks or longer. “If your child isn’t showing any signs of improvement after two weeks, you should contact your doctor,” Schar says.
Flu and Cold Recovery Tips
Rest will help you recover sooner and reduce your risk of additional infections, such as bacterial pneumonia, sinusitis, or ear infection.
- Sip broth, herbal tea, and other non-alcoholic liquids to soothe your throat and relieve congestion.
- If you smoke, now is a good time to quit. Smoking can irritate your throat and make your cough worse.
- If you feel feverish, keep your room comfortably cool and dress lightly.
- If your nose is stuffed up, try using a saline spray. Saline rinses can also help clear your nasal passages to relieve congestion and prevent infections.
- Clear congestion by breathing warm, moist air from a steamy shower, a hot bath, a sink filled with hot (not boiling) water, or a humidifier.
- Protect yourself and others with a flu shot each year.
For more tips on staying healthy during
cold and flu season, visit healthy.kaiserpermanente.org To learn more about Kaiser Permanente Santa Monica medical offices, visit thrive.kaiserpermanente.org