Pharmacists and Prevention of Coronavirus 2019
Because community pharmacies are frequently the first point of contact in the healthcare system, pharmacists and their team can play a key role in helping to prevent the spread of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in their communities. So, what can pharmacists do to prepare for this important role?
- Understand the Disease
- What is the cause?
- Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
- How is it transmitted?
- The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but now it is spreading from person to person through respiratory droplets.
- What is the risk of infection?
- Risk of infection is dependent on exposure. Close contacts of people who are infected are at greater risk of exposure, for example health care workers and close contacts of people who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
- What are the symptoms?
- Mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath
- Severe complications include pneumonia in both lungs
- How is it prevented?
- Because it is spread through respiratory droplets, hand washing along with covering coughs and sneezes is the best prevention. You should avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- What is the treatment?
- There are no specific treatments for COVID-19 currently available. Clinical studies are in progress for several compounds but no vaccine or antiviral medication has been approved to date.
- COVID-19 Pharmacist Testing
Click here to access the online training that meets the requirements for pharmacists COVID-19 testing.
- Educate Your Community about Prevention
- Wash Hands
- Use soap and water when available or
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content when unable to wash with soap and water
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your cough
- Use tissue to cover coughs and sneezes
- Cough and sneeze into your arm
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick
- Virus containing respiratory droplets can travel up to six feet
- Cloth face coverings should be worn
- CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings for everyone where other social distancing measures (minimum 6 feet between each person) are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).
- Protect Others.A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the person who wears it. Instead, people should wear cloth face coverings to prevent spreading respiratory droplets to others. This can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by people who have no symptoms.
- Make Sure Your Cloth Face Covering Fits! It should: Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face. Be secured with ties or ear loops. Include multiple layers of fabric but still allow for breathing without restriction. Keep its shape after going through the washing machine and dryer.
- Carefully Remove Your Face Covering. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your face covering. Wash your hands immediately after removing it.
- Wash your face cloth after each use.
- Who Should Not Wear Coverings? Children younger than 2 years of age and anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance should not wear a face covering.
- Stay away from others if you are sick
- Do not go to work if you are sick
- Do not send children to school if they are sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
- Contact your medical provider to determine if you should be seen
- Prepare a Plan in Case of a Local Outbreak
- Family Plan
- Consider childcare options should school be cancelled
- Keep extra supplies of important items on hand:
- Prescription and OTC medications
- Food and drinks to prevent extra visits to the grocery
- Hand sanitizer and environmental cleaning supplies
- Business Plan
- Update your emergency operations plan
- Plan for worker absences
- Learn about local public health pandemic plans for community
- Provide hand sanitizer and tissues for employees and patients
Report Critical Medication Shortages
Pharmacists, we need your help! KPhA is working to keep the Department of Public Health informed of any critical medication shortages pharmacists are experiencing across the state. We want to track current critical shortages in the drug supply chain either COVID-19 related, or non-Covid-19 related.
We are asking you to let us know about critical medication shortages you are experiencing by completing a brief survey through the survey link or QR Code found below. This link and QR code can also be found on the KPhA website. You can report your shortages via these links anytime. We will be sending the DPH a daily report based on your feedback.