Andrew Gyorda Explains Why Getting to Know Your Pharmacist is Important During the Covid-19 Pandemic

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When it comes to managing risks of COVID-19 and becoming more educated about the virus, many people have turned to the news or other sources.  However, there are health professionals that most people already deal with in some form that have  become a reliable source of information during the pandemic: the Community Pharmacist. 

A pharmacist can be a valuable member of a health team that stays on top of the latest public health developments and can become a trusted source of vital information says Andrew Gyorda, a pharmacist who manages Hollis Pharmacy in Hollis, New Hampshire. 

Pharmacists have remained available to patients throughout the lockdowns and have been at the frontlines to help manage patient health.  This has removed some of the burden from clinics and hospitals. Furthermore, many pharmacies, including Hollis Pharmacy also provide curbside pickup and home delivery of medications, allowing patients to remain home or  to practice safe physical distancing

Teaching Precautions and Proper Techniques

As pharmacies have stayed open, pharmacists have implemented protocols to reduce the spread of the virus. One of the biggest functions of pharmacies during the pandemic — aside from providing an uninterrupted supply of needed medications — is passing along knowledge to the public. 

That means you can turn to a pharmacist to verify information from other sources, including what might be misleading in terms of medications that will reportedly manage the virus.  For example, while drugs like hydroxychloroquine have been used to manage other health conditions, a clinical study found it was not effective against COVID-19.  Furthermore, the FDA has actually announced it may lead to cardiac rhythm problems if taken improperly. 

Aside from advising about medications, pharmacists have also taken a leading role in educating patients about proper hand washing and sanitizing techniques that have been shown to reduce the spread of viruses in general.  Wearing masks has also become a common practice; however, in some cases, people are using them improperly.  A pharmacist can inform patients about how to correctly wear one and how to properly remove it to lower the risk of infection.  Furthermore, Mr. Gyorda’s  pharmacy is  a reliable source of  facemasks and hand sanitizer, both of which have been in frightfully short supply nationwide. 

Reducing Risk and Screening 

Pharmacists who have been dealing with the same patients for a long period of time will get to know their particular health challenges and related medications, and may be able to recognize signs that are out of the ordinary. 

While the current coronavirus may have no symptoms for some of those afflicted, many illnesses may prompt a pharmacist to recommend a visit to the appropriate health care provider.  Pharmacists have been popular first-line points of contact for generations and will happily guide you towards effective self-care options or toward appropriate professional care.  A medical center in the U.K. recently completed a pilot program involving a triage team  led by pharmacists that significantly reduced same-day doctor visits

Some pharmacies are taking part in COVID-19 testing, following all current precautions outlined by various levels of authority. This makes sense, considering the number of pharmacies far exceeds the number of hospital facilities available for testing, explains Mr. Gyorda. 

Additionally, there’s a push for pharmacists to screen for influenza and strep throat (which has already been practiced in some states), which can help reduce the burden on physicians. Many pharmacies across the country already offer a seasonal flu vaccine, which may decrease the severity of symptoms  caused by a COVID-19 infection.  This is not to mention that the flu itself is responsible for thousands of deaths and hospital stays, which can further burden the healthcare system.

Build Trust With Your Pharmacist, Says Andrew Gyorda

Your community pharmacist is a trusted member of your healthcare provider team and will get to know your health profile from repeated visits and medication records, explains Andrew Gyorda.  Pharmacists are here to help you,  and want to be of help.

Pharmacies have stayed open during the pandemic and have incorporated successful transmission-hindering practices into their daily routines.  Therefore, they are in a good position to educate the public about the proper precautions to take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection such as proper hand hygiene, and to differentiate what health information is valid from what is unproven,  he adds.

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