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NBC 4: The Pandemic Is More Confusing Now. Here’s What SoCal Doctors Say Will Help Protect You

NBC 4 recently interviewed Cedars-Sinai hospitalist Nicole Van Groningen, MD, about balancing physical and mental health while staying safe from COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated and boosted are the first and most powerful steps one can take to protect against COVID-19. The shots are especially critical since public health precautions like indoor masking have been relaxed, Van Groningen told NBC 4.

For those who don’t want to get vaccinated or can’t, wearing a mask is essential even if others around you are not. “What we have found in studies of mask use is that it provides at least some level of individual protection, so yes, it’s very important to wear,” Van Groningen told KNBC.

After taking the proper precautions to stay safe, maintaining one’s overall health also is important. “We know that people who get adequate sleep and people who get exercise have stronger immune systems and are better able to fight off viruses across the board,” Van Groningen told NBC 4.

Mental health also must be balanced with physical health, Van Groningen said. Avoiding poorly ventilated restaurants and crowded concerts reduces the risk of catching COVID-19, but constantly isolating at home can take a toll on emotional wellbeing. Van Groningen recommended that individuals discuss their personal situation with their doctor to determine what level of risk makes sense for them or what extra measures they can take to protect themselves.

For those who do get COVID-19 and develop a mild case, Van Groningen said treatment can include Tylenol for aches or fever, staying hydrated and taking a walk around the house to keep the blood flowing and the lungs working. “If you’re really feeling short of breath, I think chest pain and shortness of breath are two key symptoms that we say, ‘don’t mess around, go to the hospital,’” Van Groningen told NBC 4.

Click here to read the complete article from NBC 4.