Around this time each year, viruses like the flu affect millions of people across the country. While the flu is still a very real threat, there’s also a new virus impacting the nation this year—COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 causes symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It’s a virus that spreads very easily from person to person.
Because it’s easily-spread, millions of American businesses and schools have made the decision to close down or limit operations to protect their employees, students, and the general public.
How Pharmacists Serve the Community during the COVID-19 Crisis
While many people are hunkered down in their homes doing their part to prevent viral infection, pharmacists and other health professionals throughout the U.S. are stepping up to help manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The following are just a few of the ways that pharmacists in different practice areas are on the front lines of fighting this pandemic.
Infectious Disease Pharmacists
As members of hospital-based teams, infectious disease pharmacists are using their extensive medication expertise to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics and antiviral medications to treat patients who have, or are at greater risk for contracting, COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Infectious disease pharmacists are also experts on stopping the spread of a disease in a patient or population.
Learn more about a career as an infectious disease pharmacist here.
Pharmacists are important members of interprofessional health care teams in hospitals. Hospital pharmacists serve a vital role in managing the medication therapies of patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 or related illnesses. They also help to care for patients with underlying chronic medical conditions that may make them more vulnerable to the virus, such as lung disease, cancer, heart failure, and diabetes.
Learn more about a career as a hospital pharmacist here.
As the most accessible members of any health care team (90 percent of Americans live within 5 miles of a pharmacist), community pharmacists have the opportunity to connect with people on a daily basis. By recommending treatments for those with minor viruses, giving flu shots, and offering advice for staying healthy, community pharmacists are playing an active role in educating the public and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Learn more about a career as a community pharmacist here.
Industry pharmacists work in a variety of roles, including drug development and delivery. Many pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry work in laboratories to develop medications and vaccines to prevent and treat illnesses. In the case of the COVID-19, industry pharmacists are playing an active role in conducting clinical trials of a new coronavirus vaccine.
Learn more about a career as an industry pharmacist here.
Compounding pharmacists provide patients with personalized medication based on their preferences and restrictions. Due to the shortage in many communities, some compounding pharmacies have started making hand sanitizers as well using alcohol and aloe vera as key ingredients.
Learn more about a career as an compounding pharmacist here.
Ways Pharmacists Are Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
While we only listed a few above, pharmacists in every practice area are playing a big role in caring for patients and preventing the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading further. The following are a few of the ways they’re stepping up, as referenced in a recent ID Stewardship blog.
Educating the Public
Pharmacists across the country, especially those who work with members of the public on a daily basis, are in a unique position to educate people about COVID-19 and how it spreads. By doing so, pharmacists are arming people with the knowledge necessary to make informed, healthy decisions.
Sharing Reliable Resources
As we all know, the internet is currently filled with articles, videos, and posts about COVID-19. But not all of these resources are accurate. As highly-educated health professionals, pharmacists are able to share reliable and accurate information about the coronavirus with their patients and the public. They are knowledgeable about the spread of COVID-19, possible treatment options, and prevention methods, and are therefore able to help reduce panic and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Serving as Role Models for Healthy Behavior
Many pharmacists interact with patients every day. By serving as role models for healthy, preventative behavior—like regular hand washing and wearing gloves—pharmacists are able to show the general public that they’re taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously.
During this uncertain time, pharmacists across the globe are critically important to helping the public remain safe, healthy, and informed. We’re so thankful for pharmacists and future pharmacists. You truly help save lives!
The following are a few informative resources regarding coronavirus: