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How to Prepare for Flu Season During COVID-19

Health professionals across the nation are urging Americans to get vaccinated against the influenza virus this year to avoid the possibility of the flu colliding with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Here are some recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to help prepare for the flu season and mitigate the strain hospitals may experience from the crossover.

When does flu season typically start and end?

Flu season starts as early as October and can last until January or February.

What’s the difference between the Flu and COVID-19?

“The similarities of the flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses,” according to the CDC. Both the flu and COVID-19 can have varying degrees of symptoms, but the common symptoms include:

  • Fever or feverish chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

The difference in the viruses include:

  • Mild to severe illnesses of the symptoms above (Flu)
  • Loss of taste or smell (COVID-19)

Developing symptoms also vary between the flu and COVID-19. Typically, a person can develop flu symptoms anywhere between 1 – 4 days after infections. For COVID-19, a person can develop symptoms and appear as early as 2 days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection. It varies by person.

When should I get vaccinated for the flu?

According to the CDC, the best time to get vaccinated will be in September or October. The CDC also recommends avoiding a vaccination in July or August as it can reduce the likelihood of protection against the flu infection later during the Fall and Winter months.

Can I have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

It is very possible for someone to have both the flu and COVID-19, as well as other respiratory illnesses. Although research is still being done about COVID-19, it is not impossible to have both at the same time.

The best way to see determine if you have the flu or COVID-19 is to take a test.

Is there a test for both the flu and COVID-19?

Yes. The CDC has developed a test that will check for A and B type seasonal flu viruses and SARS CoV-2, or COVID-19.

Initial test kits were sent out in early August, contact your healthcare provider for more information, or head to the CDC website.

Will the flu shot protect me from COVID-19?

No. The flu shot only provides immunization against influenza viruses. However, if you receive a flu shot and start developing COVID-19 symptoms, a flu shot will help your physician determine a correct diagnosis.

What should I do after getting a flu shot?

Continue practicing safe precautions put forth by the CDC, which includes wearing a face mask in public settings, keeping 6 feet distance between you and other people, frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and practice good hygiene. It is also wise to have some medicine stocked in your cabinet in the event you do develop any symptoms – fever-reducing pills (Tylenol), ibuprofen for muscle aches, cough syrup and thermometer.

Should you start developing any symptoms for COVID-19 after receiving a flu shot, you may also consider self-quarantining for two weeks – if able to.

To find where you can get a flu shot, check with your healthcare provider, Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart.  

If you would like more information on how to navigate through flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit these websites: FAQ Flu Season 2020-2021 (CDC), Washington Post COVID-19 Article

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A Mental Health Advocate with a Drive to Help Others
Luciano Spotlight

We have finally made it at the halfway point of the year, but unfortunately, coronavirus doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. However, positivity is always in supply here at KPG Healthcare and our next employee spotlight is just that – positive. This month we are highlighting someone from our Allied Professionals division who his originally from Italy and has been with us for a year and a half. Allow us to introduce, Luciano!

Ciao Luciano!

Luciano was born in a small town named Arielli, Italy, which is close to the Adriatic Sea. During his early childhood, he would go back and forth between the United States and Italy until his family decided to settle down in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in 2000. Luciano then graduated with a degree in Psychology from Stockton University where he also participated in intramural sports and joined a fraternity.

During college, Luciano set the goal of attending medical school as this was a career his parents wanted for him, but “quickly dissolved in a year or two of school,” said Luciano. Once he realized medical school wasn’t his goal, he turned his attention to the mental health field where he found helping others to be rewarding, but “when I graduated I needed to find something I enjoyed doing and recruiting seemed like a perfect fit.”

After graduating from Stockton University, Luciano recruited individuals in the IT field for a few years before wanting to transition into the healthcare field. He found KPG Healthcare on Indeed where he was eventually hired as a recruiter for the Allied Professionals team. “Working for KPG is fantastic,” Luciano said, “besides having a close team to bounce ideas off of and work together with, our director team is always there when you need something.”

As a recruiter, Luciano finds helping people achieve their goals by traveling to new places or visiting new hospitals that aren’t typically the most known to be some of the most rewarding aspects of his job. Being a recruiter, you have to be just as prepared for the unexpected as you are to welcome the positive change a recruiter can create. Timing, like scheduling calls, with new candidates, is one of the biggest challenges Luciano faces as a recruiter.

“Challenges you can face as a recruiter could be something as simple as timing when you work with newer individuals,” Luciano explained, “sometimes their schedule doesn’t match up with yours.” However, Luciano finds constant communication with candidates is the key to overcome any challenge he may face, whether that communication is small talk or assignment searching. Luciano is also a mental health advocate and utilizes his knowledge of mental health by understanding what is most important to his candidates by uncovering their assignment expectations and goals to establish a healthy working relationship.

One of the great things Luciano has done during the COVID-19 pandemic finds providing weekly updates to his candidates is the key to success. “I find myself talking to my clients more and more lately, even if it’s a quick conversation asking how they are feeling,” Luciano explained. Luciano even takes the extra step in care for his candidates by calling facilities to ask how they were providing clinicians the proper protection against the virus.

As Luciano continues in his role as an Allied Professional Recruiter, he hopes to continue working with the great candidates he’s been working with for the past few months to support them and help them accomplish their goals. Above all else, he wishes for his candidates to find happiness in their environments. He also mentioned helping his fellow team members with some tips and tricks on what worked for him.

Outside of recruiters, you’ll most likely find Luciano participating in outdoor activities like hiking, outdoor sports, skiing, or his current “oasis,” golf. Golf has been his go-to sport every weekend since he was 18-years-old. Other than outdoor activities, he also dabbles in piano and guitar during his free time.

Luciano, from all of us here at KPG HQ, keep up all the great work you’re doing in New Jersey. We appreciate all the hard work and dedication you put toward your role here with us. Mental health is important and we are happy that you consider that when communicating with candidates.

Luciano’s Dream Travel Destination: Italy! “I would love to go back and utilize my time to visit all other European countries I never visited prior.”

Top 3 Things to do in New Jersey:

  1. Golf – 18 holes
  2. Enjoy the beaches/boardwalk
  3. Hiking
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An Open-Heart Leads Inmate’s to Success in the Outside World

Happy June! The beginning of a new month means another spotlight, but this month we are changing it up and spotlighting a candidate from our Allied Professionals division. June marks the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer, so we thought it only made sense to spotlight someone who radiates optimism, positivity, encouragement and the ability to lead with an open heart. Without further ado, please welcome Jessica!

Howdy Jessica!

Jessica originally joined our Allied Professionals division back in 2017 working as a per diem Medical Case Worker at a hospital in Southern California. She’s been in the healthcare field for a total of eight years with three and a half years being a medical caseworker. Currently, she’s on assignment at a local jail facility as a caseworker serving inmates to ensure they have proper support, access to resources and opportunity to move forward after their release from jail.

Jessica’s inspiration for pursuing a career in the healthcare field came when she was a little girl. “When I was younger, my aunt had bipolar disorder,” Jessica explained, “she would sometimes forget or wouldn’t take her medication. As a little girl, all I wanted to do was help my aunt and figure out how to help her.” Since then, Jessica completed her studies in psychology at her university, worked at a rehab center straight out of college and proceeded to work at a crisis center surrounding children with behavior problems. 

As a medical caseworker, her responsibilities mainly include assessing the client, linking the client to services before release and making sure the client receives said services after release. Jessica compared her work to those who work in the social work field, “so you have to have an open heart to deal with these types of situations.” Some of the services the jail offers include housing, medical help/assistance such as drug or alcohol abuse services, access to clinics, food and more. However, with all the services available, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easily accessible and guaranteed.

“LA County has one of the largest homeless populations and a major lack of homeless housing,” Jessica exclaimed, “there is a big fear of not being able to find your client housing and because of that, some may slip through the cracks. We are dealing with people who do not have access to a cell phone either and we may lose contact with them after being released for x amount of days.”

LA County officials estimated in 2019 the number for the homeless population to be roughly 58,936, which is a 12 percent increase from 2018 (36,300). According to a Forbes article, the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County has the second-highest number of people experiencing homelessness in 2019. One could imagine what Jessica and other fellow medical caseworkers experience when trying to provide the necessary services to recently released inmates but lack proper funding or resources – it’s not easy.

Besides battling the homeless population housing crisis, Jessica tackles daily challenges like communication with the sheriff’s office or handling the passing of inmates with compassion and reassurance. “When I first meet a client, I found the more honest you are with them then they will be honest with you,” Jessica explained, “and reassuring them that ‘we are here for them.’”

Communication plays a huge role in success for the inmates and the sheriff’s department. For someone who works with inmates, it’s important to have clear and concise instructions between the sheriff’s office when handling incoming and outgoing inmates. Additionally, having the patience to understand people come from different backgrounds and perspectives has helped Jessica transition into her current role. She recognizes this role and the roles before have helped shape her into a humbler person.  

“We are all going through something and we all need a bit of help at some point.”

During Jessica’s spare time outside of the cold walls of jail (and outside of COVID-19), she enjoys a good book, writing, traveling, driving through the canyons nearby her home in the San Fernando Valley, hitting the beach, relaxing out back in her backyard or practicing her passion for dance! With the global pandemic, she’s found alternative means to keep her busy like reigniting her passion for entrepreneurship by re-starting her own business, learning about digital marketing, sales, and e-commerce, and getting her certification as a personal trainer, to name a few.

Although Jessica shines on her own, every great humanitarian would be nothing without the support they receive from loved ones or even colleagues. Hana, Jessica’s recruiter here at KPG Healthcare, has been with Jessica since the beginning of her journey in California and Hana has fought tooth and nail for what Jessica deserves for her assignments. Hana has been accommodating, transparent, trustworthy and a real advocate for Jessica – whenever and wherever.

On behalf of everyone here at KPG Healthcare, we want to say thank you for continuing your passion to help others and for allowing yourself to lead with an open-heart in everything you do. Your optimism and love for what you do are noticed and recognized. Keep up all the fantastic work you do and please be safe!

Jessica’s Dream Travel Destination: The Caribbean, Italy, Israel, Thailand

Advice for anyone interested in healthcare:

  1. Make sure it’s something you want to do. It takes a person with an open heart to take on this job.
  2. Be prepared for the unexpected.
  3. Recognize that every day isn’t the same.
  4. This job is rewarding if you put in the effort
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