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.
  • Stay Informed
  •  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
    • Face masks or respirators should only be worn if you are sick
      • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.  A face mask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of face masks also is crucial for healthcare workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
    • 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.