BATON ROUGE – The combination of warmer weather, longer daylight hours and easing of the statewide stay-at-home order are drawing more Louisianians out on the water or into the sun. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is sharing tips to help everyone enjoy summer the safe, healthy way.
In addition to common summer health concerns, Louisianians should remain mindful of COVID-19 and preventing the spread of this and other contagious diseases. When in public places, wear a face mask (:58) and keep at least six feet between yourself and others. Wash your hands often, and don’t go around others if you have a fever, cough or other symptoms of illness.
Summer Sickness? Use BlueCare!
Many people travel during the summer, and if you or a family member gets sick, it can be hard to find a healthcare provider in an unfamiliar place. 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. 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.
BlueCare and other telehealth programs are effective for treating routine illnesses like cough and cold, stomach viruses, pink eye, bladder infections, rashes or allergies. BlueCare doctors can give you a prescription or refill for medication to treat most health needs. In addition to medical visits, Blue Cross customers can use BlueCare to have online behavioral health appointments with therapists, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists.
To sign up for BlueCare, go to www.BlueCareLA.com 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, at home or on the road. Learn more: BlueCare: Get Care Anywhere (3:11).
Sun and Heat Safety
Sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer, so take the time to apply sunscreen before going outdoors. You should also wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays that can harm your vision. Sunglasses and sunscreen are important even on cloudy days because rays can still get through.
Temperatures can climb all the way into the triple digits in the summer, so watch out for extreme heat. Drink lots of water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Try not to spend extended periods of time outdoors. If you are exercising, mowing the lawn or doing any intense physical activity outdoors, have someone come with you or check on you in case you get sick and need help. If you do become overheated and get sick, seek medical attention.
Use reminders to make sure you never leave children or pets in vehicles. When you’re getting into the vehicle, put an item you’ll need to take with you when you get out, like one of your shoes, your cell phone or your wallet, with them. That will remind you to look before you lock.
Boating and swimming are popular summer pastimes in Louisiana, but be careful in the water. When boating, follow all laws about wearing life jackets.
Keep an eye on children around water. If there is a pool or body of water nearby, have children in your sight at all times. Do not let them wander off alone or swim unsupervised.
When swimming in natural waterways, try not to dunk your head or swallow the water. Storm water and runoff can put bacteria, ameba or other organisms in the water that can make you sick.
And, remember that natural water bodies are home to animals, including poisonous snakes and alligators. Be very careful when diving into water, especially if you cannot see into it clearly. And if you do spot a snake or an alligator, don’t go near it or touch it.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Mosquito bites are not only itchy and annoying, they can make you sick. Mosquito bites can spread diseases like Zika virus, which can have devastating effects for pregnant women and developing fetuses or infants. Mosquito bites can also cause West Nile virus, which has become a common summer health threat in Louisiana.
The best thing to do is avoid getting bitten. If you’re headed outdoors, wear insect repellant and put on long sleeves and long pants. Run fans if you’re sitting outside, as this helps prevent mosquitoes from landing (and biting).
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so look around your home and yard. Empty out planters, tires, children’s toys or other items that have collected water, especially after a heavy rainfall. You should also check for and repair tears in door or window screens to keep mosquitoes from getting in. And, try to avoid propping open doors for long periods of time.
If you feel sick or have a mosquito bite that appears infected, see your healthcare provider.
For more information on these and other summer health tips, visit bcbsla.com/Summer or watch Blue Cross’ short videos on Summer Ready: Health and Safety (1:50).
Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube page to see short videos with the clinical team and others discussing various health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added. You can also connect with Blue Cross on social media for regular updates.
For information on what Blue Cross is doing during COVID-19, visit www.bcbsla.com/covid19.
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. We invest both time and money in the communities we serve, supporting the health and wellbeing of Louisianians through more than 200 charitable organizations.
With our subsidiaries, HMO Louisiana and Southern National Life, we provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to one out of four Louisiana residents. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also provides Medicare supplement and Medicare Advantage plans and is a partner in offering the Healthy Blue Medicaid Managed care plan. Louisiana is the only state where we operate, with offices in every major region to serve our customers.
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a tax-paying non-profit health insurer. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
To learn more, visit our website at www.bcbsla.com.