Cure All

Care Essentials’ essential tips for taking care of yourself during the cooler months

Living in the Pearl comes with all sorts of perks, from easy streetcar access to fleets of brand-new orange bikes for rent. And lately, the neighborhood’s healthcare options have greatly increased. The newest resource is Care Essentials by Kaiser Permanente (1035 NW Northrup St, 855-235-0491,, a neighborhood-based convenient-care clinic on the ground floor of the elegant new Cosmopolitan on the Park condominium tower.

Care Essentials opens in mid-December. It will offer preventive wellness services such as vaccines and blood pressure checks, as well as non-emergency services for minor illnesses and injuries, like rashes and strep throat. Staffed daily by nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, Care Essentials is open to both Kaiser Permanente members and nonmembers, and it welcomes patients of all ages.

The team at Care Essentials by Kaiser Permanente is excited about becoming an integral part of the Pearl community, and a resource for helping neighbors stay healthy. We asked Kaiser Permanente physician Dr. Keith Bachman for a few tips on keeping well during Portland’s cool winter months.

“It’s still the basics,” he says. “Try to keep active and avoid getting sick in the first place. More people are inside, so more viruses get passed around. Germs are really about handshakes, pens, and doorknobs, so alcohol-based hand sanitizers are good. Don’t blame that guy on the plane who sneezed if you get sick. It’s more likely that you caught something from the guy before him!”

Here are more words of wellness wisdom from Dr. Bachman.


Exercise should be a year-round activity, even when it’s rainy and cold. “30 minutes daily is still the recommended amount, but the more the better,” he says. “People who have office jobs can find that it’s hard to keep moving. There’s some evidence to support using a standing desk—it’s always been kind of contentious, but it can help to avoid upper back and neck pain.”



Get cozy with your favorite person or pet and grab a nap. “The seasonal cycles mean that we’re evolved for a little bit of hibernation,” he says. “So it’s good to get enough sleep and slow down a little in the fall. Cuddle up with something or someone you love.”


Dr. Bachman recommends enjoying a savory bowl of chili for dinner as an antidote to all the rich holiday foods you may encounter in winter. “This is a good time to bring out our slow cookers and use beans, corn, tomatoes, and spices to create a healthy, low-fat, high-fiber chili.” He adds that indulging in homemade sweets is all right if you exercise portion control. Need a little further guidance? “We have a ‘Maintain-Don’t-Gain’ program here at Kaiser.”



“Start the season with a flu shot,” Dr. Bachman says. While “generally not a big fan of supplements,” he adds, “in the Northwest it’s a good idea to use a daily Vitamin D supplement. Just a little goes a long way for both bone and metabolic health.”



An important aspect of wellness is emotional health. Winter holidays can be a rough time for many. “Learning how to think about it in advance, keeping connections to the people that you really care about, and doing things that support your happiness” play an important part in personal wellness, says Dr. Bachman. —Michaela Bancud