Opinion

March is Pharmacist Awareness Month

COVID-19 has changed the healthcare landscape drastically, impacting the way we access our health-care professionals and seek health advice. Over 650,000 Albertans don’t have a regular health-care provider, and COVID-19 has only put our health care system under further strain and made it harder for Albertans to know where to go for advice.

This Pharmacist Awareness Month, I’m sharing a few of the many services pharmacists can provide to support your health that you may not know about.

l Prescribing for minor ailments — Did you know that your local pharmacist can prescribe medications for conditions like minor acne, diaper rash, eczema, hemorrhoids, and ringworm? From cold sores to bladder infections (UTIs), your local pharmacist can save you a trip to the doctor or clinic when it comes to treating minor ailments. In many cases, an over-the-counter medication will do the trick but sometimes a prescription medication is needed, and your pharmacist can develop a treatment plan that’s right for you. Your pharmacist will follow-up with you as much as you require to ensure treatment is working. Pharmacists also update other health professionals involved in your care like your family physician to ensure everyone stays informed.

l Supporting heart health — Pharmacists aren’t just about medication; they can also provide advice on how to improve heart health – which is good news for our hearts and blood vessels. In addition to helping you better understand your medication, pharmacists can help monitor your blood pressure and they can help you understand your blood pressure readings.

l Rx renewals — Lockdowns and stay at home orders throughout the pandemic have made regular visits to the doctor difficult. But did you know medication non-adherence (failure to take medication as prescribed) causes 69 per cent of medication-related hospitalizations? Many people don’t realize that when appropriate, pharmacists can renew your prescriptions over the phone or in-person saving you a trip to the doctor or clinic. Always talk to your pharmacist if you are going to run out a medication and have no refills. Pharmacists will ensure you never have to go without your medication.

Whether you need support managing your heart health, a prescription renewal or help with a minor ailment, pharmacists are available to answer your health questions.

Todd Prochnau is a Sylvan Lake pharmacist.

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