Tag Archive for: Staying Healthy

6 Questions to Ask Your Doctor at Your Next Visit

From ALLtech medical partner Regence BlueShield

Now is a great time to schedule an annual wellness visit or routine check-up with your personal doctor, also known as a primary care provider (PCP). Here are some questions you could ask during the visit to help prevent future illness and save money on your health care costs.

Questions about preventive care

1. What preventive services and screenings do you recommend for me? Depending on your medical history and family history, your doctor may recommend lab work to check for certain diseases or conditions. They may also recommend screening procedures — such as a colorectal cancer screening, bone mineral density test, mammogram, or Pap smear test. If your doctor recommends tests and screenings, you might want to ask how the tests will be administered, if you need to do anything to prepare, and how you’ll be informed of the results.

  • For ALLtech members enrolled in medical coverage through Regence, most preventive services and screenings are covered with no copay and no deductible. However, some diagnostic tests, labs and procedures may have a cost share responsibility. Check your benefits at regence.com or call the number on your member ID card for more details and to confirm your coverage.

2. What vaccinations should I get? Some vaccinations, such as for flu, are recommended annually. There are also some newer vaccines you may not have gotten yet, such as vaccines for COVID-19, RSV, pneumonia, and shingles. Your personal doctor can recommend the vaccines that are right for you.

  • Vaccines are covered by ALLtech plans at no cost, but deductibles, copays and coinsurance may apply. To check your coverage, sign in to your account at regence.com or call the number on your member ID card.

3. How much and what kinds of physical activity do I need to stay healthy and avoid falls and injuries? Your doctor can suggest strengthening exercises and other ways you can be physically active, tailored to your specific needs and health conditions.

  • ALLtech members have access to discounts on fitness-related products and services like fitness devices and gym memberships through Regence Advantages.

4. What can I do to improve my mental health? Your doctor can do a screening with you to check for mental health risks like depression and anxiety. They can suggest activities that can help, as well as prescribe medications and refer you to a mental health counselor as needed.

  • Through ALLtech, members have access to virtual mental health treatment options through MDLIVE at $0 co-pay on most plans. No referral is needed — you can visit the provider website and fill out the intake form for an appointment.

Questions related to prescription drugs

5. Should any changes be made to my prescriptions? Review the list of prescription drugs you’re taking with your doctor, as well as dosages, supplements, and any over-the-counter drugs you take regularly. Your body can change over time, so the drugs you’re taking may need to change as well. You may be able to stop taking a drug or change to a different dose, or you may need to start taking a new drug.

6. Is there anything I can do to save money on my prescription drugs? Your doctor may be able to help you save, such as changing your prescription to a generic or other less expensive alternative drug. You can compare drug prices at various pharmacies and shop around for the best deals using the price comparison tool when you sign in at regence.com.

A word of caution about your coverage

Most ALLtech plans cover an Annual Wellness Visit or annual check-up at no cost to you. However, you may have to pay additional coinsurance or cost shares if your doctor ends up performing any diagnostic tests or procedures during your visit.


If you have any questions about your plan’s coverage or need help finding care, sign in to your account at regence.com and use the Chat feature, or call the number on your member ID card.

Want to learn more about enrolling in ALLtech? Fill out our Request a Quote form or email alltech@advprofessionals.com.

8 Ways to Improve Your Health in the New Year

From ALLtech medical partner Regence BlueShield

If your New Year’s resolutions include a goal to improve your health in 2024, here are eight things you can do this year with a little help from ALLtech Benefits’ medical partner Regence:

  1. Select a primary care provider if you haven’t yet. Having a doctor established now makes it easy to get care when you need it. It can take a while to get in for an initial appointment, so schedule it right away. If you need help finding an in-network primary care provider, try Regence’s find a doctor tool or call the number on the back of your member ID card.
  2. Get an annual wellness visit with your primary care provider, which is covered by most ALLtech medical plans with no out-of-pocket costs. Your doctor can assess your overall health and give you guidance on how to improve. This baseline can be very helpful as you plan health, fitness and weight loss goals for the year.
  3. Take care of your mental health. Make self-care a priority. If you’re struggling and need help, ALLtech covers a variety of mental health care services and resources, such as one-on-one counseling, group therapy, medication, as well as self-guided well-being tools and virtual care options. Learn more about ALLtech’s Employee Assistance Program, Wellspring EAP, and virtual behavioral health resources available through MDLIVE.
  4. Get all your age-appropriate recommended health screenings, such as screenings for breast, cervical, colorectal, lung and prostate cancers. Most screenings are covered through ALLtech with no out-of-pocket costs if you meet criteria. Talk to your doctor about which screenings you should get this year and sign in to your account on regence.com to learn more about your coverage. It may take a few months to get in for some screenings, so get them scheduled early.
  5. Get vaccinated. Getting all your age-appropriate recommended vaccinations will help you avoid illness so you can focus on improving your health. Most vaccinations are covered through ALLtech with no out-of-pocket costs if you meet criteria. Some vaccinations, like the flu shot, are covered annually. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for help deciding which vaccinations you should get.
  6. Participate in a wellness program. The Regence Empower app is a wellness program available to ALLtech members, but you can use it even if you’re not part of an employer plan. The app can help you track your progress on things like sleep, stress, food and exercise. You can also use it to participate in health challenges and find links to podcasts and helpful health-related information. Download the Regence Empower flyer for more information.
  7. Familiarize yourself with all the care options covered by your health plan. Make sure you know when you should head to the emergency room versus an urgent care or your doctor’s office, versus the virtual care and telehealth options available with your ALLtech plan. Knowing the difference could save you time and money, and it’s better to figure it out now instead of when you’re sick.
  8. Consider nutrition counseling. Most Regence plans cover one-on-one nutrition counseling with a dietitian to help you improve your diet. The counseling can be especially helpful if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or renal kidney disease. Benefits vary by plan and can depend on applicable state or federal mandates. To learn what’s available for you, sign in to your account to chat online or call us at the number on the back of your member ID card.

Log in to your account at regence.com or call the number on the back of your insurance card to learn more about all your insurance coverage.

It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week: 5 Reasons to Get a Flu Shot

To help recognize National Influenza Vaccination Week, taking place December 4-8, 2023, ALLtech Benefits would like to remind you that there’s still time to get a flu shot to help you celebrate the holidays safely. Members enrolled in ALLtech received full coverage for the cost of most vaccinations at 100 percent when members see an in-network provider.

Why get a flu shot?

Flu shots benefit you, your family and your community 

The most important action to protect yourself against flu is getting a flu vaccine each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine to reduce your risk of getting flu and lessen its symptoms if you do get sick.

Getting vaccinated against flu can also help protect loved ones, like adults 65 years and older and people living with chronic conditions, both groups of people who are at higher risk of having serious flu complications. Bottom line? Getting an annual flu vaccine is important to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community against flu.

Flu shots benefit pregnant people and babies 

Flu can be especially serious for pregnant people because of changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy that can make them more vulnerable to flu and its potentially severe complications. The good news? Getting a flu vaccine can reduce your risk of getting flu and lessen flu symptoms if you do get sick both during and after pregnancy. A flu shot during pregnancy also can help protect your baby from flu for several months after birth, when they’re too young to be vaccinated themselves.

Flu vaccines have safely protected millions of pregnant people and their babies from flu for decades. One study showed fewer cases of infants with flu in mothers who got a flu vaccine compared to mothers who were not vaccinated. This is because, when vaccinated while pregnant, you pass antibodies on to your developing baby.

Flu shots benefit young children 

Did you know flu can be more serious for children than a cold? That’s why it’s also important to get your children vaccinated against flu this year. Children younger than 5 years old – especially those younger than 2 – and children of any age with certain chronic health conditions, like asthma and diabetes, are at a higher risk of developing potentially serious flu complications. Because these groups of children are at higher risk, it is especially important they get a flu vaccine to reduce their risk of getting sick or being hospitalized or dying from flu if they do get sick.

Flu vaccines are safe and effective – and there’s still time to get vaccinated

Every year, experts update flu vaccines as needed to best protect against the viruses expected to spread during the upcoming season. During seasons when the vaccine viruses are well-matched to the viruses that are spreading, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness by 40 percent to 60 percent. And if someone who is vaccinated gets sick, vaccination has been shown to reduce severity of illness, reducing the risk of serious flu outcomes.

The best time to get vaccinated is before flu has begun spreading widely in your community but vaccination can still be protective later. Flu most commonly peaks in February, and significant flu activity can continue into May.

You have options on which flu vaccine to get and where to get it, including at a health care provider’s office, at work, a pharmacy, some stores, or even supermarkets. Speak with a health care provider today about getting a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated against flu at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccinations.htm.

Giving Thanks is Good for Your Health 

Practicing gratitude around the holidays is a tradition for many families, but it turns out sticking with it throughout the year can have profound impacts on your overall health.  

Improve Your Mood with Gratitude

Some days it may feel impossible to think of even one thing that you’re grateful for, but in fact, these are the times when you can use a bit of gratitude the most. Studies have shown that offering thanks for things in life that are meaningful to you can decrease depression and anxiety, and if practiced regularly can even change the way your brain is wired. 

Turning on gratitude isn’t first nature for many of us, so start small with a daily affirmation – maybe something as simple as thinking about someone you’re grateful for, then gradually building on that by expressing your gratitude to the person.  

Now it’s contagious! Think about the last time a friend or even a stranger made your day by showing their appreciation for you. In the short term, it improves the mood of both parties, and in the long run practicing these acts of kindness will help gratitude become your brain’s go-to response. 

The Joy of Journaling

Another method that has been shown to improve both mental and physical health is keeping a gratitude journal. Some people prefer a bound journal to physically write in each day, but it can be just as meaningful to keep track digitally with your smart phone or computer. What’s important is to maintain a frequency that is realistic – it should feel enjoyable and cathartic, not like a chore. 

Maybe you prefer to jot down something about people or moments that you appreciated each day, or maybe it’s better for you to aim for once a week. Regardless of what you choose, the practice will help you focus more on the many positive experiences you have every day. 

Bring Thanks to the Workplace

Want to help foster a more positive environment in the workplace, too? Bring your gratitude to the office, especially if you are a manager or work in customer service.  

And don’t just say “Thank you” to be polite without really thinking about what you’re saying. Be present, and make a conscious effort to think about precisely what it is that you are thankful for. 

Thank YOU from ALLtech Benefits!

With that, the team at ALLtech Benefits would like to thank you for reading our monthly news and health tips and for being a part of the ALLtech community! Want to learn more about what’s new with ALLtech for 2024? Download our 2024 ALLtech Fact Sheet, or contact us by calling 206.602.3558 or filling out our request a quote form. 

Mental Health for Men: Knowing the Risks, Spotting the Signs and Getting Help

From ALLtech medical provider Regence BlueShield

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), when it comes to assessing one’s mental health, most men don’t consider admitting that they may be suffering as an option. Sure, men will admit to being burned out, or “needing something to take the edge off” to relieve stress. But when it comes to feelings of depression and anxiety, or considering their own use of substances, most men are mum on the topic.

The ADAA is a national organization of mental health professionals dedicated to improving patient care and developing new treatments to prevent anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD. The organization’s research says the need to maintain one’s masculinity, along with cultural and economic factors, cause men to avoid acknowledging and sharing feelings about their mental health.

While Mayo Clinic research shows nearly twice as many women suffer clinical depression as men, more than 6 million men in the U.S. have depression each year and most go untreated. Not only are men less likely than women to seek treatment, the ADAA says greater exposure to guns makes them four times more likely than women to die by suicide.

ADAA research also says that men and women exhibit depression symptoms differently. Both can feel sad, hopeless or empty; extremely tired; have difficulty sleeping or oversleeping; loss of pleasure from activities they usually enjoy; and suicidal thoughts. But the ADAA says that for men more than women, an additional set of symptoms is far more prevalent:

  • Escapist behavior, such as spending a lot of time at work or on sports
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive problems, and pain
  • Misuse of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
  • Risky behavior, such as reckless driving
  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge

Effective treatments for depression and other mental health disorders

The National Institutes for Mental Health (NIMH) says there are many effective ways to treat depression and anxiety, including medication and psychotherapy. Each patient’s condition and circumstances are different, and while some can experience relief and improved quality of life after a few weeks of treatment, others may take longer. Knowing when you need help and seeking it is the most important step, so if you’re living with symptoms talk with your doctor or a mental health professional. Going without treatment may make your situation worse.

Convenient help for Regence members to get started

Most Regence health plan members, including those enrolled in ALLtech, have multiple ways to access in-network mental health care, whether they need occasional emotional support or treatment of a chronic condition. In-network virtual (telehealth-based) providers usually offer the fastest way for members to start receiving care, and no referral or prior authorization are required before scheduling an appointment. Members can visit our behavioral health resources page on regence.com to learn more about virtual mental health providers and support tools and different types of therapy available. When members create an account and sign in on regence.com they can use the provider search tool to locate in-network local providers and estimate their out-of-pocket costs for treatment.

June is national Men’s Health month. If you’re a man, consider paying extra attention to your mental health for the next 30 days. If you think you may need help, make June the time to get started.

If you or someone you know is in a crisis, get help immediately. You can call 911 or call or text the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors who will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if needed.

Allergies Can Mean Misery for Contact Lens Wearers

From ALLtech vision provider VSP Vision Care Inc.

For many, spring is a time of renewed energy, more time outside, and flowers coming into full bloom. But, if you are one of the more than 50 million people in the U.S. who experience allergies each year, spring can also mean a time of misery thanks to sneezing, runny noses, and eye irritation.

If you’re also a contact lens wearer, spring can be especially miserable for you and your eyes.

That’s because contact lenses can actually attract airborne allergens, which may bind to the surface of the lens, increasing eye discomfort for some allergy sufferers. Forty percent of contact lens wearers report itchy eyes due to allergies, taking the spring out of their step and making the season less enjoyable.

In addition to causing itchy eyes, allergies can also:

  • Cause allergic conjunctivitis (pink eye), leading to red and swollen eyes and discharge from the eye.
  • Cause light sensitivity, making time in the sun difficult.
  • Cause burning or watery eyes, or the opposite may occur, leaving your eyes dry.
  • Cause giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC), which causes the inside of your eyelid to get red, irritated, and swollen.

Allergy season calls for special tactics to keep you and your eyes happy. Here are some tips to help make this allergy season a little more bearable for you and your eyes.

Switch Up Your Eyewear

You may not normally wear your glasses, but you might be more comfortable if you do for a while. The allergens in the air, such as pollen and dust, love contact lenses, and the particles will stick to them. That may mean eye irritation.

If you wear monthly contacts, switching to daily disposable contacts may also help. By disposing of your contacts at the end of each day, you also throw out the allergens that like sticking to them, helping keep your eyes irritant-free. If you want to stick with your current contacts, clean them properly after each wear to remove as many stuck-on allergens as possible. To ensure your contacts have the right prescription and fit, be sure to consult your eye doctor for their recommendation on the best contact lens options for you during allergy season.

Keep Your Eyes Hydrated

Keep a container of artificial tears handy and use them often. These can help your eyes feel better and wash the allergens out.

Redness-reducing solutions are only cosmetic, and while they may provide you with temporary relief, they won’t fix the underlying problem: an allergic reaction. Your VSP network doctor can help you find the right eye drops to give you longer-lasting relief and address any underlying concerns and conditions.

Avoid Allergens

In allergy season, get even more rigorous with your cleaning routine to remove allergens from your home. Dehumidifiers, hypoallergenic bedding covers, and other products can help keep allergens to a minimum inside your house.

Though it may be tempting to leave windows open and let in the fresh air, keep them closed when pollen and allergen counts are high and rely instead on your air conditioning system to keep your home cool.

You can also protect your eyes outside from allergens by putting on a pair of sunglasses. In addition to protecting your eyes from pollen, sunglasses also help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Ask The Experts

Don’t suffer in silence this allergy season. If your eyes are causing you a lot of discomfort, contact your eye doctor. They can confirm the cause of your eye irritation is allergies and not an underlying health condition and discuss treatment options.

Whether you wear contacts or glasses, your VSP network provider can help you find relief from allergy eyes. Find a VSP network provider near you and make an appointment today to take the first step toward healthy, happy eyes this spring.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician, or other qualified health provider, with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

5 Ways to Stay Healthy on Your Next Vacation

From ALLtech medical provider Regence BlueShield

The Spring Equinox is upon us, and you’re probably already starting to plan your spring and summer vacations. Here are some tips to keep you and your loved ones healthy as you’re traveling.

Five tips for members

  1. Get all your recommended preventive care before you go. It’s a good idea to have a check-up with your primary care provider (PCP) before you leave town. For ALLtech members enrolled in medical through Regence BlueShield, an annual checkup with your PCP is covered by most plans with no out-of-pocket costs. You should also get any vaccinations and age-appropriate health screenings to make sure you stay healthy while you travel. Login at regence.com to check your coverage for vaccinations and screenings. Many plans don’t cover travel vaccinations.
  2. Plan for virtual care while you’re on the road. Whether you’re next to a campfire in Montana, on a beach in Hawaii or hiking the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia, anywhere you have access to the internet you’ll have 24/7 virtual access to a qualified medical professional. Virtual providers can make a diagnosis, create a treatment plan and send prescriptions to a pharmacy near you as needed. Consider virtual care for things like cold and flu, nausea and vomiting, rashes, sunburns, urinary tract infections and allergies. Learn about ALLtech virtual care options.
  3. If you need in-person care, take advantage of our robust provider network. Regence plans include access to the largest network of doctors and hospitals throughout the country — 92 percent of all physicians and 96 percent of all hospitals nationwide. All Regence plans come with urgent and emergency BlueCard coverage. Depending on your plan, you may also be able to see local BlueCard providers for non-emergency issues. To find out about your specific coverage, sign in and chat with us online or call us at the number on the back of your member ID card. You can search for in-network hospitals, urgent care centers and providers in almost all U.S. states and territories at provider.bcbs.com.
  4. Make sure you have coverage for international travel. Before traveling internationally, call the number on the back of your ID card to learn about your international coverage. Some plans include a program called Blue Cross Blue Shield Global® Core that can help you find in-network hospitals, urgent care centers and medical professionals at your travel destination. If your benefits don’t include international coverage, you may want to purchase travel medical insurance or medical evacuation insurance through companies like GeoBlue®.

    Read more about the complimentary access ALLtech members have to Travel Assistance.

  5. Be sure you have enough medication and medical supplies to last until you get home. You don’t want to get partway through a trip and realize you’ve run out of an important medication. It might be a good idea to talk to your doctor about switching to a 90- or 100-day supply of your medications so you’ll have plenty to last through your vacation. Changing to a 90- or 100-day supply can also save you money by reducing dispensing fees. If your medication will run out while you plan to be gone, you can call the number on the back of your member ID card. You may be able to arrange to get enough medication in advance to last you through your trip. If you do run out, you could ask your provider to call in a new prescription to a pharmacy near you.

We hope these tips help you have a fun and healthy vacation. Find more travel tips at regence.com.

Health Benefits and Tips to Get Started with More Plant-Based Eating

Although the popularity of eating “plant-based” has grown, this term currently lacks a formal definition in the United States. In the past, plant-based was often used to describe a vegetarian or vegan diet. More recently, plant-based has been used to describe an eating style that includes more foods that come from plants, like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. It’s also a term that may be used in the marketing of a food, like dairy alternatives and meat substitutes.

To kick off National Nutrition Month this March, ALLtech is sharing this week’s message from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to encourage eating with the environment in mind, which includes enjoying more plant-based foods and snacks. Visit the National Nutrition Month website to learn more about each week’s message and about developing healthful eating habits.

Are there benefits to eating more plant-based foods?

People may choose to consume more plant-based foods for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Health benefits associated with eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • Concerns for the environment.
  • A potential for lower grocery bills and food costs. For example, a meatless chili using dried beans is less expensive than a chili containing meat or a textured meat substitute.

Are plant-based foods more nutritious?

Just because a product is plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthier. Premade plant-based foods and beverages can vary in the nutrition they provide.

While a variety of nutrients can be obtained from plant-based foods, this type of eating style may require some additional planning to make sure that you are getting all the vitamins, minerals, and protein you need. It will depend on your overall food intake and what foods are being replaced with plant-based sources.

The Nutrition Facts Label is a helpful tool to determine if a food or beverage is the right choice for you. This is especially true for dairy alternatives. As an example, some plant-based beverages only provide a small amount of protein. Plus, if it’s flavored, there may be added sugars. According to MyPlate, only fortified versions of soymilk and soy yogurt are considered part of the Dairy Group, since the nutrition they provide is similar to cow’s milk.

Beneficial nutrients to look for in plant-based products include:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Protein

Meanwhile, aim for low amounts of:

  • Saturated fat
  • Sodium
  • Added sugars

How to Get Started

For a healthy eating style that includes more plant-based foods, focus on ways to add more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For example:

  • Designate a certain night or nights for meatless meals.
  • Try substituting some or all of the meat in recipes with plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, tofu, tempeh or unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Include more vegetables and fruit without added sugars or salt in meals and snacks.

To find a registered dietitian nutritionist and get additional food and nutrition information, visit eatright.org.

Make Heart Health Part of Your Self-Care Routine

Devoting a little time every day to care for yourself can go a long way toward protecting the health of your heart. Simple self-care, such as taking a moment to de-stress, giving yourself time to move more, preparing healthier meals, and not cheating on sleep can all benefit your heart.

And that’s a good thing, because heart disease is largely preventable and focusing on improving your heart health has never been more important. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for women and men in the United States, and many Americans remain at risk of getting it, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

“Studies show self-care routines, such as taking a daily walk and keeping doctor’s appointments, help us keep our blood pressure in the healthy range and reduce our risk of heart disease and stroke,” said David Goff, M.D., NHLBI’s director of cardiovascular sciences.

It may be easier than you think to “put your heart” into your daily routine. Each Sunday, look at your week’s schedule and carve out 30 minutes daily for heart-healthy practices. Take an online yoga class, prepare a heart-healthy recipe, schedule your bedtime to get at least seven hours of sleep, or make a medication checklist. Then seek out support from others, even if it’s online or via a phone call, to help you stick to your goals.

Here are few self-care tips to try every day to make your heart a priority:

Self-Care Sunday

Find a moment of serenity every Sunday. Spend some quality time on yourself.

Mindful Monday

Be mindful about your health and regularly monitor your blood pressure or blood sugar if needed. Keep an eye on your weight to make sure it stays within or moves toward a healthy range. Being aware of your health status is a key to making positive change.

Tasty Tuesday

Choose how you want to approach eating healthier. Start small by pepping up your meals with a fresh herb or spice as a salt substitute. Get adventurous and prepare a simple, new, heart-healthy recipe. Or go big by trying a different way of eating, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which is scientifically proven to lower blood pressure. DASH is flexible and balanced, and it includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, lean meats, beans, nuts, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

Wellness Wednesday

Don’t waffle on your wellness. Move more, eat a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried, make a plan to quit smoking or vaping, or learn the signs of a heart attack or stroke. You could be having a heart attack if you have chest and upper body pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, or lightheadedness. You might be having a stroke if you have numbness in the face, arm, or leg; confusion; trouble talking or seeing; dizziness; or a severe headache.

Treat Yourself Thursday

Treats can be healthy. Try making a dessert with fresh fruit and yogurt. Then stretch your imagination beyond food. Host a family dance party, take a few minutes to sit still and meditate, go for a long walk, or watch a funny show. Laughter is healthy. Whatever you do, find a way to spend some quality time on yourself.

Follow Friday

Follow inspiring people and pages on social media, or text a friend to help you stick to your self-care goals. Remember to take care of your mental health, too. Two of the main hurdles to self-care are depression and a lack of confidence, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. If your mental health gets between you and your fabulous self, take action to show your heart some love. Reach out to family and friends for support, or talk to a qualified mental health provider.

Selfie Saturday

Inspire others to take care of their own hearts. Talk about your self-care routine with loved ones or share a selfie on your social media platforms. Having social support and personal networks can make it easier to get regular physical activity, eat nutritious foods, reach a healthy weight, and quit smoking.

Learn more about heart health and heart-healthy activities in your community, and see what others are doing for their heart health, at nhlbi.nih.gov/ourhearts or follow #OurHearts on social media.

CDC Shares 3 Steps to Keep You Healthy as RSV, Flu and COVID surge

From ALLtech medical provider Regence BlueShield

Cases of flu, RSV and COVID-19 are all alarmingly high, but vaccination rates are down compared to this time last year, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a recent news briefing. Dr. Walensky asked everyone to take three steps to stay healthy and prevent the spread of these potentially life-threatening illnesses.

  1. Get vaccinated. Dr. Walensky said this year’s influenza vaccine is “a very good match” to the strains currently circulating and it’s not too late to get it. She also encouraged everyone to receive the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, which she said is safe and effective at preventing severe COVID-19.
  2. Take everyday actions to prevent the spread of illness. This includes covering your coughs and sneezes, staying away from people who are sick, staying home if you’re sick, washing your hands often, and improving ventilation in your home and workplaces. Dr. Walensky also recommended wearing a mask if you have symptoms of respiratory illness, if you’re immunocompromised or at increased risk of severe disease, or if you’re in an area where the risk of transmission is high, such as on public transportation. KN-95s are the recommended masks to help prevent the spread of viral illnesses.
  3. If you’re at particular risk of severe illness because of things like age, chronic medical conditions or being immunocompromised, contact your doctor for care early. “There are prescription antivirals to treat both flu and COVID-19, and these treatments are especially important for people who are at higher risk of complications from respiratory disease,” Dr. Walensky said. “Talk to your healthcare provider as soon as you have symptoms so these treatments can be started within the first few days of illness when they’re most effective.”

ALLtech is here to help.

The flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine are both covered with no out-of-pocket cost by most ALLtech plans with medical through Regence BlueShield or Asuris Northwest Health. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about getting vaccinated.

If you get sick and need care, call your primary care provider or consider virtual care or an urgent care clinic before heading to the emergency room. Emergency rooms are by far the most expensive option and they’re extremely busy right now so wait times will be long. Visit regence.com for help finding the right care option.