Q: How can a pharmacist help if a patient is taking a medication with side effects similar to COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 — which typically appear 2-14 days after exposure — include fever, cough and shortness of breath. More serious symptoms — also referred to as emergency symptoms — include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face.
Certain medications may have side effects that resemble some of the symptoms of COVID-19. If you have questions about any of the common or serious side effects associated with the medication you are taking, call your pharmacist.
Q: What tips do you have for patients who have compromised immune systems?
If you are at a higher risk of developing serious illness — including COVID-19 — you should take the following actions to reduce their risk:
- Stay home as much as possible
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- Avoid crowds and non-essential travel as much as possible
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
- Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places
- Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs — practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces
Q: What’s better — washing your hands or hand sanitizer? Why?
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Q: What are some steps you can take to make sure you have enough medication during a quarantine period?
You can take a proactive approach to make sure you have the medications you need. Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra-but-necessary prescriptions. You can also use mail-order for prescriptions. Make sure you have over-the-counter medication and medical supplies on hand to treat fever and other potential symptoms if they should occur.
Q: Is there anything caregivers should keep in mind?
Caregivers and family members can help take steps to protect one another during the outbreak. Have a list of each family medications. Families can prepare by creating an account on alliancerxwp.com to help manage prescriptions. You can also educate yourself on daily preventative tips and what COVID-19 symptoms to watch for.