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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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Tips & Tricks for Improving Your Mental Health During COVID-19

KPG Healthcare shares tips & tricks for improving your mental health during COVID-19.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s so important now than ever to take a moment and check-in with yourself. Mental health is equally important as your physical health and considering the circumstances of this virus, you should be conscious of both. The majority of Americans have been in lockdown since the end of March leaving us without the ability to practice our normal self-care routine/rituals that could include visiting friends/loved ones, exercising at a gym, hiking, catching a movie, eating out or even retail therapy.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, KPG Healthcare wanted to share some helpful tips and tricks on how you can manage your mental health during COVID-19.

Tip #1: Breathe/Meditate

In times of stress, it’s always important to remember to breathe. Taking a minute or two to take some deep breaths will help calm your nerves and allow you to refocus your energy on tasks that matter. Practicing daily meditation provides many benefits like reducing anxiety, enhancing self-awareness, promotes emotional health, reducing stress and more.

There are many ways to meditate too! Some like to practice yoga with their meditation, there are helpful apps like HeadSpace or Insight Time that provide guided meditation (some require in-app purchasing) or simply finding a quiet space free from distractions.

Tip #2: Exercise

There is no doubt that exercising has many benefits not only for your physical health but your mental health as well. Studies have shown that exercise can help treat mild to moderate depression, relieves tension and stress through the release of endorphins, relax your muscles for any tension in your body, increasing your self-esteem, increasing your energy levels, and so much more.

Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean heavy weight lifting or 20 mile runs. Taking a walk through the neighborhood or doing jumping jacks is a great stepping stone into incorporating exercise into your life. Remember: everyone starts at square one and it can be easy to feel discouraged when you don’t see results, but don’t give up! Nothing in life comes easy but if you keep at it then there’s nothing you can’t do!

Tip #3: Pick up a new hobby

Finding or rediscovering a hobby is a great way to improve your mental health. Research has shown that people with hobbies rarely suffer from anxiety or depression because these activities will get us out, make us feel happier and more relaxed. Plus, who wouldn’t want to come out of lockdown with a new hobby to show off to your friends?

Check out this great article that breaks down how different hobbies can help different aspects of your mental health!

Tip #4: Plant Therapy

Plant therapy is not only another great hobby to incorporate into our lives but it’s a great way to help your mental health. There have been numerous studies showing how caring for plants (or even looking at plants) can reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect. Caring for plants allows us to have a sense of responsibility, feel connected with other living things besides humans, aid in relaxing and letting go of whatever is burdening us, release happy hormones and plants remind us to live in the present moment. Plants are also another great way to purify the air in your home!

Next time you’re at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, make sure to take a stroll into the Garden Center and check out some of the great indoor/outdoor plants! Here’s a helpful guide/quiz for which houseplants to get!

Tip #5: Virtual Hangouts

With current lockdown restrictions and guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we aren’t able to visit our friends or loved ones like before. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is impossible to see them.

With applications like Zoom or Houseparty, we can see our loved ones and connect with whenever we want. It’s important to check-in with your friends and family to see how they’re doing during this time but it’s also a great way to relieve whatever emotions you’re feeling. We are all going through some sort of lockdown and your loved ones will be there for you through thick and thin. Go call your mom!

Tip #6: Adopt a Fur Baby

Adopting a pet has many benefits, whether that be a dog, cat, hamster, rat, snake or a bird, pets are known to help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of loneliness and social isolation. With COVID-19, some pet shelters are temporarily shutting down, leaving many animals without a home, but you are still able to adopt or foster!

Another study found that adopting a dog can increase your task performance, improve your self-esteem, keep us calm and can help keep you from going to the doctor! How amazing is that?! Go adopt a fur baby there are plenty of animals in need of a home!

There are a handful of ways to improve your mental health, but we hope you found some of our tips & tricks to be helpful during the COVID-19 lockdown. Whether you decide to take a walk, adopt a pet or buy a new plant, KPG Healthcare wants to make sure everyone remembers to take care of themselves. We will get through this difficult time as long as we look out for one another. Your mental health is important to us.

Please be safe.

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How to Self-Care during a Quarantine?
Self-Care during quarantine

Are you bored at home? Are you an essential worker who needs a night to unwind? Are you searching for a new hobby? Good news! With lockdown in place, you’ve got nothing but time on your hands!

With a lockdown in place for many states in the US, it’s time to focus on self-care. Self-care is important for your health both physical and mental, plus it’s a great way to get in touch with yourself to see how you’re feeling, what you’re feeling and how to go about your day from there. Self-care comes in many shapes and forms such as exercise, meditating, cooking, finding a new hobby, or even horticulture but self-care routines will vary based on your interests.

At KPG Healthcare, we believe in self-care and the importance of taking care of yourself.

Exercise those thighs!

It is one of the best ways to relieve some stress and get those endorphins flowing! With a lockdown in place, there are a handful of studios and trainers offering free online classes such as CorePower Yoga, Gold’s Gym, Barry’s Bootcamp, Chris Hemsworth and more! Many instructors from popular studios like SoulCycle offer Instagram Live classes to follow along with at home. Check out this full list here.

With a lack of proper equipment, people are starting to use their creativity to get that good muscle burn. For example, people are using their couches as a leg press, water jugs as dumbbells, or some people are creating their workout stations with concrete and wood!

If working out is not your style, exercise does include going for a nice stroll through the neighborhood. Just make sure to follow your city’s ordinances or new laws regarding COVID-19 safe practices!

Find a new Hobby!

This is a great time to start that new hobby you said you’d pick up back in 2010. You might as well focus your energy on something like knitting, drawing, calligraphy, planting, painting, building, etc. It can be hard to start a new hobby but skills do not develop overnight. Remember that every single person has started at square one in learning a new hobby or skill, so don’t get discouraged! We believe in you!!

Looking for some great hobbies to start in quarantine? Check out this list here.

DIY “Spa Day”

Who doesn’t love a good spa day! Too bad every spa is closed and you’re starting to look a little crusty. Unfortunately, we can’t do much about your hair – if it’s looking crazy, but we can help with the crustiness with a DIY Spa Day!

Drop a bath bomb or a few drops of essential oils into your bath/shower. Relax and sip some tea. Do a face mask with a glass of wine or more tea. Practice whatever skincare routine you have. Hopefully, by now you’ve got an idea on how to relax so any further steps will be at your discretion but we recommend reading a book, trim/paint your nails, pluck your eyebrows, shave, etc.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you are relaxed and possibly unplugged from the world.

The Great American Cook/Bake Off

We all love to eat and that’s a FACT. But how many can you cook an edible meal? Don’t worry, lockdown can help you improve! Whether you’re a baker or a chef, or maybe both, you can always refine your skills with a knife or a whisk! Cooking/baking is also a great way to incorporate your housemates/significant others, but if you live alone you can always cook with your friends via Zoom!

Look up some recipes or research some of your favorite dishes, build a grocery list, prepare then cook! YouTube has a plethora of cooking videos or tutorials on how to do certain tasks with cooking utensils if you ever feel overwhelmed or lost.

When buying groceries, please wear a face mask and gloves. We cannot stress that enough.

Plant Babies and Gardening

We’ve been through this before but let’s talk about plants again. Plants are a great way to purify the air in your home and it can add some great colors to different living spaces. Planting is another great therapeutic way to relieve some stress after a long day/week of work. Just remember each plant is different and may require specific soil, water routines, lighting, placement and/or nutrients.

Horticulture can also include planting your garden full of herbs, vegetables and fruits! If you have the space for a garden, we recommend starting with some common herbs or easy vegetables like rosemary, mint, tomatoes, carrots, etc.

Other Options!

There are so many other options when in quarantine like picking up reading, reorganizing your home (Marie Kondo – spark joy), clean your home, learn a TikTok dance, write in a daily journal or play video games… There are many things we all can do to focus on our self-care. We must take time each day to realign our minds, our energies and our attitude.

In the meantime, please be safe during this pandemic. Wash your hands and don’t touch your face.

A message to all healthcare professionals, thank you.

Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and your willingness to fight this virus and support those who are in need. This is a time where we, as human beings, should come together and celebrate those who are keeping society on its feet, aka essential workers.

There aren’t enough words to describe how much we appreciate all healthcare workers and all essential workers during this unprecedented and difficult time. Society would not be operating if it weren’t for all of you. We hope all essential workers are doing their best to stay healthy, safe and to feel the love everyone else feels for your sacrifice.

KPG Healthcare thanks you for all that essential workers do.

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