Preparing for Cold, Flu Season During a Pandemic

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthAs if living life during a pandemic wasn’t challenging enough, we now have to anticipate the arrival of autumn allergies, colds, and the flu. We know during these unprecedented times, there are a flurry of questions one may have about the symptoms and preventive measures one can take to stay on top of their health. With the help of Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi, M.D., Chief Clinical Officer at The Loretto Hospital, she shares insight as to how an individual can best prepare themselves for this upcoming season.

Allergies, Flu, and Covid
We know there are a lot of questions when it comes to cases of allergies, flu, and now Covid. There are a lot of concerns regarding symptoms and when to take them seriously, how to differentiate among the three, and so on. To ease their concerns, especially with Covid, at Loretto Hospital we have three testing sites, free, where people can come to get tested and have their questions answered. I would also say for people experiencing symptoms to be aware of the patterns. Does it feel different? Are there different aches? If it is allergies, does it feel the same as last year? Did it come around the same time? Be very in tune with your body and how it functions.

Primary Care
Now more than ever, it is vital that you have a relationship with your primary care physician. I would say, once an individual has turned 18 years old, they should find a primary care physician whom they should visit at least twice a year for their general health, and establish a trusting relationship. Living through a pandemic can cause so much confusion, there is a lot of misinformation out there so the relationship you have with your physician is so important because they will be able to guide you in the right direction. They will know your history, what is comfortable for you, and steps to take that is more suited for you.

We know there is apprehension that shrouds around vaccinations, especially in the Latino community, and in all minority communities. However, we want people to keep in mind that we as physicians took an oath to protect our patients. We want what is best for our patients, we know that vaccinations help, we know the Flu vaccination helps. This is why I stated that having a relationship with your primary care physician is particularly important because you have developed a sense of trust. Physicians are here to help and share preventive measures to help you avoid becoming sick.

Healthy Choices
Eating healthy and working out at least 30 minutes a day are proven measures to keep on top of your health during this season. We know foods like, wheat bread is beneficial to your health, staying away from high sugar drinks, such as soda and going for natural sugars found in fruit can boost your immune system. Be more conscientious of the decisions you may make on a daily basis. Fill up your diet with healthy greens, protein such as chicken, turkey, and fish. Try to stay away from red meat. Eat loads of fruit. Drink tons of water and keep active for 30 minutes a day.

Flu, Covid
We know this is most concerning for many of our patients because the symptoms are similar making it difficult to tell the difference based on symptoms alone. We know having them together is dangerous and can be catastrophic to your immune system. The coronavirus attacks your lungs, which is one of the main differences, if you have both there could be a potential of your organs shutting down…it can wreak havoc on your body. So taking preventive measures by seeing your doctor, by washing your hands, wearing your mask, and keeping active are all ways to that can help you.

Information Overload
It is also equally important to take care of your mental health. There is such a thing as information fatigue. While it is great to seek the information you need, reading every article on Google will only cause more anxiety. Continue on with your hobbies, go for walks, talk with friends, find something that gives you joy and do it. Just remember to follow the rules, wash your hands and wear a mask.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

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