Exchange Gifts, Not Germs: Blue Cross Offers Tips for Happy, Healthy Holidays

Nov. 26, 2019

BATON ROUGE - It’s the holiday season! Many consider this the most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when seasonal illnesses like flu, the common cold and stomach bugs peak. And, all the holiday hustle and bustle can interfere with us making time for our health.

Members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s clinical team are here to offer the gift of good health, with tips for common holiday season and winter health issues.


Sick this Season? Use BlueCare!

Many people travel to see family or take vacations during this time of year. And, there’s nothing to crash the holiday spirit like getting sick and scrambling to make a doctor’s appointment. In these situations, telehealth can be a good option.

Blue Cross customers can sign up for BlueCare, which lets you have online doctor visits 24/7 – even on holidays. BlueCare doctors are available in all 50 states, so if you or someone covered on your health plan gets sick while traveling, you can use this service. Blue Cross Medical Director Dr. Jeremy Wigginton shares his story of using BlueCare for a sick relative on Christmas Day and how easy it was to see the doctor in this video (1:40).

BlueCare and other telehealth programs are effective for treating routine illnesses like cough and cold, stomach viruses, pink eye, rashes or allergies. BlueCare doctors can give you a prescription to be filled at a local pharmacy for most health needs.

To sign up for BlueCare, go to or get the BlueCare – that’s one word – app for Android and Apple devices. Then, you’ll be ready to click when you’re sick.


Spread Cheer, Not Germs

We all love to gather with family and friends in large groups for the holidays. Unfortunately, a lot of people gathered indoors is a great way for germs to spread.

As you mix and mingle, also practice effective germ control. Blue Cross Medical Director Dr. Larry Simon shares tips in this video (1:45), including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if washing is not an option.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Do not eat or drink after others – keep food and beverages separate.
  • Cook food properly and serve it with utensils instead of picking it up with bare hands.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect commonly used areas, such as desks, bathrooms and counters.
  • If you do get sick, be considerate of others and stay home from work or school until you are not contagious.

    Walk in a Wellness Wonderland

    Sticking to your usual health and fitness routine can be tricky during the holidays. Blue Cross Medical Director Dr. Emily Vincent suggests some small adjustments you can make to work exercise and healthy living into your schedule in this video (1:10).

  • Going shopping? Park further away from the stores so you can get some extra steps walking in. Consider doing some extra laps around the stores, too.
  • Drink lots of water – even though the weather may be colder, it’s just as important to stay hydrated in the winter as in the summer.
  • Alcohol flows freely during the holidays, but too much can impair your judgment. Drink responsibly, and have a designated driver if you’ve been drinking.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Plan your schedule so that you’ll have nights in to relax and unwind. Being well rested will give you more energy for your holiday festivities.

    Focus on Friends and Family – Not Just Food

    All year long, it’s important to be aware of how much food and how many calories you’re consuming, and to be careful of mindless eating. But, this can be particularly challenging during the holiday season – lots of celebrations are centered around food, people bring food to work and homes as gifts, and we get lots of special treats and family recipes that are only made once a year.

    How you approach this time of year can prevent frantic New Year’s resolutions attempting to undo the impact of the season’s festivities. In these videos, Blue Cross Dietitians Katherine Langlois and Laura Vidrine share tips to plan for holiday season success (2:52) and enjoy holiday parties without overdoing it (3:00).


    Choose Joy, Not Stress

    The holiday season is a happy time, but it can also be a very stressful time. We have a lot of family obligations, events or activities to attend, gifts to buy or food to make.

    You usually feel stressed in very demanding circumstances, and during the holidays, many of us feel pinched for time, energy, money or something else. This can cause stress.

    Be careful about not being stressed out too much, or it can affect your mental health and well-being. And, it can prevent you from enjoying the holidays. In this video, Blue Cross Social Worker Avis Brown tells you how to experience joy, not stress, this holiday season (2:14).

    For more information on these and other holiday health tips, visit and subscribe to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s YouTube channel.


    About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized in 2019 as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in United States.

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at or talk to us on social media.