Note: This article was co-written by Betty Chaffee and Alan Tanabe.
With the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation remaining dynamic and dominating the news, we are all experiencing changes in our daily lives. Some of us have been instructed to work at home. Others may continue to go to work, but may have concerns about exposure to illness. Classes have been canceled in schools, which may create challenges regarding child care. Shopping has become frustrating with long waiting times and difficulty finding items that are now high-demand. We have been discouraged to be present at areas with many people, including planned family gatherings, our favorite restaurants, social clubs, or places of worship.
All of these factors can be inconvenient and upsetting. For many, the social isolation and constant feed of news reports about COVID-19 contributes to increased anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Despite this, it is still important to take care of yourselves. Therefore, I hope to provide you with some rays of light. I want to reassure you that through all of these challenges, your pharmacist will be there for you. So here are seven ways that your pharmacist can help you through these unprecedented times:
1. Pharmacists are trained to answer your questions about medications and health.
Though many people are feeling isolated and alone during this national crisis, questions about medicines and how they affect health still need to be answered. Doctor’s offices are limiting routine visits, but pharmacists are always available and are trusted sources of health information. If the COVID-19 crisis has your regular pharmacist too busy to answer all your questions right now, BetterMyMeds can help. You’ll get the same caring service as always while using phone or video appointments so you can remain at home. Whether you choose a complete medication review, a pay-as-you-go plan to help manage a chronic disease, or another medication management service, your pharmacist will listen to your questions and concerns and work with you to resolve them.
Don’t let another day go by wondering if your medicines are working for you. Contact BetterMyMeds for answers to your medication questions!
2. As always, your pharmacist is a great source of information.
We are following frequently updated recommendations from the CDC. This would include which medications may provide some degree of protection as well as which medications may best be avoided if experiencing symptoms common with COVID-19 illness. Please keep in mind, all current news about medications related to COVID-19 is based upon very limited trials and may change. Additionally, other news related to medicines, like drug recalls, will still occur. As always, check with your pharmacist to learn more information as to if any recalls affect you.
3. Pharmacists are still here for your medication needs.
Your continued health is still our priority. High blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, and other health conditions do not cease to be an issue during a national emergency. Whether you’ve had these conditions for years, or have recently been started on medications, we will be available to fill your prescriptions.
4. We are able to help with over-the-counter (OTC) recommendations.
People will still develop symptoms of colds, allergies, headaches, arthritis, or other common maladies. We are here to listen to your concerns, ask you questions, and determine what OTC product may safely provide you relief from these symptoms.
5. We will work with your providers.
With some physician offices not seeing patients except for urgent matters, and people not leaving their homes as often as usual, it is possible that you may have overlooked the fact that your prescription(s) has run out of refills. Also, you may notice that with these recent changes in your daily routine, you may feel different when taking your medications. Your pharmacist will be available to communicate with your physician to help address concerns like these.
6. We may be able to reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy.
Many have concerns about how long we need to limit our risks to exposure of COVID-19. Among these concerns include each trip to the pharmacy to pick up our medications. Your pharmacist may be able to work with your insurance to get approval for early refills of essential medications. This will help ensure that you do not run out during times we are encouraged to stay home. Also, the Governor of Michigan has issued an executive order allowing pharmacists to issue emergency refills of essential medications for up to a 60 day supply. This order is scheduled to end on April 22, 2020, but may be renewed as needed.
7. We still give needed vaccinations.
While there are no approved vaccinations to protect against COVID-19, we still are available to administer other essential vaccinations. This would include flu shots, shingles vaccines, pneumonia vaccines, tetanus/pertussis vaccines, and others.
As always, we encourage you to ask questions and to share your thoughts on this site.