Do you know why we love October? It’s American Pharmacists Month! We’re celebrating the accomplishments of pharmacists by educating the public, policy makers, and other health professionals about pharmacists’ expanding role in patient care as integral members of the healthcare team. Pharmacists are your medicines experts!
The month-long observance brings awareness to the wide array of services pharmacists provide, emphasizing pharmacists’ accessibility and expertise in patient care with this year’s theme, “Easy to Reach and Ready to Help.” This summer’s historic natural disaster that devastated parts of North Carolina has increased awareness around the role pharmacists play in public health planning and emergency preparedness. Whether it was distributing vital medications, setting up mobile pharmacies, or providing patient care, pharmacists in the immediate and surrounding affected areas answered the call to help those in need. And beyond natural disasters, pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers for many people.
All across the country, pharmacists are dedicated to improving access to care, lowering costs, and providing advice and counsel to the millions of patients they serve every day. And this October, we recognize pharmacists’ contributions to healthcare and all they can do for their communities. Short conversations with a local pharmacist can make a big difference. From advising on allergies to diabetes to heart disease and more, pharmacists simplify care with easy access to answers that bring relief.
In addition to filling billions of prescriptions each year, pharmacists also provide other vital pharmacy care services, such as:
- SAFE MEDICATION USE – You have medication questions. Your pharmacist has answers. Did you know that more than 80% of American adults take at least one medication and nearly 30% take five or more? Pharmacists help you maximize the benefit and minimize the risk of your medications. Did you know your pharmacist can explain the medication label, tell you about interactions with other drugs or foods, package your tablets, and be a bridge between you and your prescriber? Pharmacists are easy to reach and ready to help. Make sense of your medications. Visit your pharmacist.
- FLU AND OTHER DISEASE PREVENTION – A-choo! No one wants to get the flu. Did you know that more than 300,000 immunization-trained pharmacists administer vaccines, and nearly one in four adults receive their influenza vaccinations at their community pharmacy? As part of the immunization neighborhood, pharmacists are there for you. Your pharmacist also can talk about other vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pneumonia, shingles, or HPV, and help determine which immunizations are appropriate for you or a loved one. Protect your health. Visit your pharmacist.
- DIABETES MANAGEMENT – A spoonful of sugar doesn’t always help the medicine go down. Did you know that more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and more than 84 million U.S. adults have prediabetes? You can prevent—or manage—diabetes with help from your health care team, including your pharmacist. Pharmacists use their expertise to help you get your blood glucose under control and reach your goals. You’re not alone in managing your diabetes. Visit your pharmacist.
- ASTHMA AND COPD – It’s time to breathe easier. Did you know that more than 25 million people in the United States have asthma, of which about 7 million are children? Or that 12 million people are currently diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and another 12 million people with COPD haven’t received a diagnosis? You can control your asthma or manage your COPD with help from your pharmacist, including how to use your inhaler properly to maximize your benefit. Pharmacists provide care to improve your quality of life. Visit your pharmacist.
- OTCS – Cough and cold. Pain. Fever. Upset stomach. Did you know that more than 100,000 over-the-counter (OTC) products are on the market? Pharmacists are trained in both prescription and OTC medications. They can tell you about potential interactions with foods, other drugs, or dietary supplements. And they can help you pick the perfect product. The right remedy is just a pharmacist away. Visit your pharmacist.
- SUPPLEMENTS – Before you choose and use a dietary supplement, talk with your pharmacist. Did you know that FDA does not regulate supplements as it does with prescription and over-the-counter medications? Pharmacists can tell you whether a supplement is from a reputable manufacturer that follows quality standards. They can tell you how supplements, medications, and foods may interact.Team with your pharmacist to live your best life. Visit your pharmacist.
- HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE – Did you know that high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke? About one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, and another one in three has prehypertension. Measure up to your health and wellness goals by controlling your blood pressure. Pharmacists can help you prevent and manage high blood pressure through team-based care and ensuring your blood pressure is tested and documented on a regular basis. Don’t stress about your blood pressure when pharmacists can save the day. Visit your pharmacist.
- PAIN MANAGEMENT – If you have pain, you want relief. Pharmacists can take an active role in your pain management and help you make the best use of your medications. Did you know that more than 100 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain? Pain is the number one cause of adult disability. Manage pain safely with a plan from your care team, including your pharmacist. Visit your pharmacist.
- YOUR PHARMACIST AND OTHER HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS – Go team! Your health care team begins with you and includes your pharmacist and other health care providers. Physicians, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, and more can help you meet your health care goals. As an accessible and valued health professional, your pharmacist partners with other members of your health care team to help you make the most of your medications. Pharmacists provide care. Visit your pharmacist.
As a way to highlight the importance of the special month and to support the profession’s engagement, APhA devotes part of its website to American Pharmacists Month, where there are tips on outreach and messaging to spread the word, a variety of ideas to inspire activities and events, and promotional items featuring the theme and logo. In addition to pharmacists, APhA encourages pharmacy technicians, student pharmacists and chapters of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) to use any of these tips while celebrating on campus and in the community.
How are you celebrating? Check out PharmacistsMonth.com for more resources!