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Relieve Your Teary, Allergy Eyes

From ALLtech vision provider VSP Vision Care Inc.

High levels of pollen, mold, dust and other irritants can make for miserable eyes! These airborne allergens may be the primary culprit of watery, itchy eyes, but relief may be closer than you think.

If allergens are making you weepy, your eyes are telling you something. “Pay attention to your eyes,” explains Amy Treski, OD, a VSP network doctor at Optique Boutique in Lawrenceville, N.J. “Itching, redness, and swelling of the eyes and eyelids, are common allergy symptoms — itching being the most uncomfortable and swelling the most persistent symptom.” For some immediate relief on days when your allergies are mild, try some do-it-yourself remedies.

DIY Remedies for Mild Cases 

  • Keep the windows shut in your car and home — especially in the early morning hours when pollination tends to occur.
  • Wear wrap-around glasses or sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.
  • Place a cold compress over your eyes to soothe discomfort.
  • Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to flush out any irritants.
  • Try an over-the-counter remedy like allergy eye drops, oral antihistamines, or other medication for mild allergies.

Did You Know? 

Contact lens wearers should wait at least 15 minutes after using any allergy eye drops before putting in lenses.

It’s important to note that allergy eye drops can offer immediate relief, but with long-term use, they can weaken blood vessels in your eyes and make your eyes redder.

What to Do for Severe Allergies 

Prescription drops may be the answer if you suffer from allergies with persistent, moderate to severe symptoms. “There are prescription medications that have a dual action of a mast cell stabilizer and an antihistamine — this blocks the effect of allergens and quickly relieves itching to offer long-lasting relief,” says Dr. Treski.

Dr. Treski suggests visiting your VSP network doctor if allergy symptoms are prolonged or get worse. Your doctor will be able to determine if what you’re experiencing is caused by seasonal allergies or other irritants.

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. 

Recharge and Refresh with Access to Web-Based Tools from ALLtech

Emotional health and well-being support is just a click away for members of ALLtech enrolled in medical from Regence BlueShield/Asuris Northwest Health.

Through the myStrength by Livongo self-service and web-based app, members have access at no additional cost to easily recharge, refresh and improve their mood with resources such as:

  • Strategies to manage heightened stress
  • Tips for parenting during challenging times
  • Ideas to manage social isolation
  • Other tools and information for emotional support

The safe and secure app offers personalized web and mobile tools to help members overcome the challenges they face and stay mentally strong.

To learn more or sign up, download the myStrength Flyer for ALLtech members enrolled in Regence (or the myStrength Flyer for ALLtech members enrolled in Asuris).

Tips for Teaching Kids Good Oral Hygiene

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington.

Teaching a kid good oral hygiene is probably the last battle you want to take on at the end of a long day, especially when just getting them to bed can be a struggle. However, brushing and flossing is an extremely important part of children’s oral and overall health.

Start good habits at an early age and clean your baby’s teeth by wiping them with a soft cloth or brushing with a small soft toothbrush and water. This gets them used to establishing a tooth brushing routine. When children are around 18 months of age, they can be introduced to daily brushing by using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and encouraged to spit, but not rinse. By age 2, or when teeth start touching, kids should be introduced to flossing. Tip: Some parents find flossing sticks much easier to start with than traditional floss.

Here are three more tips for teaching a child good brushing and flossing habits:

Tip #1: Use Visuals

Flossing and brushing doesn’t automatically make sense to kids. To demonstrate the importance of flossing and good oral health, have your child watch as you dig your teeth into some chocolate. Next, brush and floss your teeth to demonstrate how well both activities remove leftover food particles. Once they’re thoroughly intrigued, break out a toothbrush with their favorite TV character on it or a dental flosser pick (little kids find these easier to handle) and try it out on their teeth.

Tip #2: Give Rewards

As a parent, you know how well positive reinforcement works on kids. They love when something fun waits for them at the end of a task. Why not use this same idea for your children’s oral health? Create a chart and give your child a gold star each day they brush or floss. At the end of the week, reward them with a fun activity or a small toy (not candy). They’ll consider it a fun game, but you’ll know that, secretly, they’re building solid habits and learning how to take care of their smile.

Tip #3: Create Activities

Activities are a great oral health motivator for kids of all ages! All you need is play dough, a large Duplo block, and some yarn. The block represents the teeth, the play dough represents food and gunk caught between teeth, and the yarn is the floss. Use the yarn just like dental floss to show your kids how easily it removes food from teeth. This is a great visual, and kids love jamming the dough in the blocks. Plus, not only do you teach your child how to floss, but you’ve found a way to occupy her for a solid ten minutes — win, win.

If you need help finding a pediatric or family dentist visit our find a dentist tool and use the drop-down tool to select the type of dentist you’re looking for.

Sign up for MySmile to access your dental benefits, get reminders, find your ID card and access the cost estimator for treatment planning.

Your Video Guide on the COVID-19 Vaccine from MDLIVE

ALLtech is thankful to our partners at MDLIVE for sharing Your Guide to the COVID-19 Vaccine: A Video FAQ.

Through its medical providers at Regence BlueShield and Asuris Northwest Health, ALLtech is able to offer 24/7 virtual care at $0 copay on most plans through MDLIVE.

MDLIVE is a valuable option whether you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and want to avoid exposing others, or you’re seeking non-emergency medical care but want to limit your own potential exposure.

Available by phone, secure video or mobile app, MDLIVE offers virtual primary care, psychiatry and counseling therapy, and can be used to treat a range of non-emergency conditions including cold/flu, allergies and headaches. For a list of common ailments, view our MDLIVE pdf.

To learn more about ALLtech or to get a free quote to become a member, fill out our Request a Quote form or call (206) 602-3558.

Next Steps to Access the COVID-19 Vaccine

Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved, what are the next steps to learn more or to get the vaccine?

Washington state offers a comprehensive Coronavirus Response page at coronavirus.wa.gov, where you can determine your eligibility, find vaccine locations, get the latest COVID-19 news and more.

Checking in with your doctor about when you where you should be vaccinated is the first step you should take, according to ALLtech’s medical partner at Regence BlueShield in its article The FDA has OK’d the COVID-19 Vaccine. Now what?

And in the meantime, the article reiterates that the best way to continue to protect yourself and others – including after you’ve been vaccinated – is to:

  • Wear a mask
  • Maintain physical distance
  • Wash your hands

Get Help During the Holidays and Beyond with ALLtech

Convenient access to health care has always been a priority for the ALLtech Benefits Trust. During a holiday season that already has stress levels at an all-time high, ALLtech is making access even easier by further expanding its virtual care resources.

The above video from ALLtech medical provider Regence* BlueShield highlights the many virtual offerings available through the health plan, with a focus on mental health resources during this time of potentially prolonged stress.

Read more about how ALLtech’s is enhancing and improving its diverse offerings in the GeekWire article Get Help During the Holidays and Beyond with ALLtech.

Practicing vigilance and resilience in the winter of COVID-19

“As we weather the pandemic, we should focus on maintaining not just a healthy body but also a healthy mind,” Dr. Drew Oliveira, senior executive medical director for Regence BlueShield, says in the GeekWire article Practicing vigilance and resilience in the winter of COVID-19.

The article from Regence BlueShield, which partners with ALLtech to offer the plan’s diverse medical insurance benefits, offers tips to help the community stay healthy in body, mind and spirit this winter.

In addition to doing your part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the article also reminds you to keep up on immunizations and other routine health care, while also emphasizing the importance of staying connected to family and friends.

Read more in the article Practicing vigilance and resilience in the winter of COVID-19.

To learn more about ALLtech health insurance benefits, please fill out our Request a Quote form.

Video: Explore Behavioral Health Resources Available Though ALLtech

Virtual access to health care has always been a valued benefit for ALLtech members, perhaps now more than ever. After months of living in the shadow of a pandemic, ALLtech’s partners continue to add virtual health resources to help members access the care they need from the comfort of their home.

That includes virtual access to behavioral health care, including psychiatry and counseling therapy through MDLIVE, as well as the myStrength self-service and web-based app that offers tools and skills to cope with stress and anxiety.

Starting on January 1, 2021, access to MDLIVE will be even easier with the co-pay decreasing to $0 for most ALLtech members.

Please view the above video to learn more about the resources available to ALLtech members, and please also see our accompanying article in GeekWire: Mental health counseling available via ALLtech as scientists predict tough winter due to COVID surge

‘COVID Doesn’t Care That It’s a Holiday’

The steady rise of COVID-19 cases is leading many people to change their upcoming holiday plans, according to ALLtech medical providers Regence BlueShield.

In a recent national survey, Regence found that 58 percent of respondents don’t plan to socialize outside their household this holiday season, according to its article Holiday travel: Keep your loved ones safe this winter as COVID-19 spreads. Meanwhile, 41 percent of respondents don’t plan to travel because of COVID rates, while 24 percent say they will travel but plan to take precautions such as wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer.

“COVID doesn’t care that it’s a holiday,” Barbara Alexander, president-elect of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, says in the article. “Now is not the time to let our guard down and say it’s the holiday and let’s be merry. I think we need to maintain our vigilance here.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the safest way to celebrate the holidays is at home with the people you live with, but it also offers plenty of suggestions on how to travel and celebrate safely.

Regence adds that celebrating virtually is also a great option for families and friends who are missing one another.

As a reminder, ALLtech offers a variety of resources for members seeking mental health resources, from stress‑reducing apps to virtual counseling and more, which you can read more about in GeekWire.

GeekWire: Mental health counseling available via ALLtech as scientists predict tough winter due to COVID surge

As COVID-19 cases and accompanying hospitalizations continue to rise, ALLtech and our exclusive partners at GeekWire remain dedicated to sharing ways to help support your health – including your mental health.

Through what could be a long and lonely winter for many, GeekWire offers hopeful resources in the article “Mental health counseling available via ALLtech as scientists predict tough winter due to COVID surge.”

The article outlines the virtual counseling available to ALLtech members, including MDLIVE through Regence BlueShield/Asuris Northwest Health, and BetterHelp through Wellspring EAP; the Livongo wellness app that helps you manage stress; and additional resources for members in need of additional assistance.

Read more in the article “Mental health counseling available via ALLtech as scientists predict tough winter due to COVID surge.