March is Pharmacist Awareness Month…a full month set aside to educate folks like you and me, about the key role pharmacists play in the delivery of health care. The fact is, pharmacists are some of the most accessible people in health care! Just step into any pharmacy and they’re always there…willing and able to answer questions on a great number of topics as well as offer a number of services you may or may not be aware of.
Over the last few years I’ve had a few health issues pop up here and there and I’ve come to rely on my pharmacist just as much as my doctor for medical advice and treatment. While I quite like both my doctor and pharmacist, it’s my hope that I’ll age somewhat gracefully and won’t, in fact, need them as much as they’re willing to be there for me!
However, just so we’re all aware…I thought I’d give you a run through of a few of the services pharmacists can provide (I might just save you a little time away from the doctor’s waiting room!)
PLUS…read through to the end! To help celebrate Pharmacist Awareness Month, Shoppers Drug Mart and Real Atlantic Superstore Pharmacies are interested in hearing all of the wonderful things your pharmacist has done for you! Fill in the survey at the end of this post and a reader of Curtains are Open will win a FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR gift card to Shoppers Drug Mart! JUST BY SHARING YOUR STORY!
So, without further ado…while dispensing medication is definitely a big part of a pharmacist’s day…there’s so much more!
Vaccinations and Immunizations:
I’ve blogged about the flu vaccination program through Shoppers Drug Mart, but did you know that those same pharmacists who help vaccinate you against the flu can also vaccinate you against shingles, AND provide travel immunizations?
I’m guessing HALF of my readership had NO IDEA as a recent National survey revealed that 50% of Atlantic Canadians weren’t aware of either fact!
If you’re lucky enough to be heading to southern destinations, pharmacists in some provinces can administer the immunizations that may be required to help protect you against diseases that are rare in our country but prevalent in others. If you aren’t sure what vaccines you need, pop in or book an appointment about 4-6 weeks prior to your travel to discuss your plans.
As for vaccines…if you’ve had the chickenpox, you’re at risk for shingles. Shingles is a viral infection of the nerves that causes inflammation and severe pain. The vaccine, available at your pharmacy, can reduce the occurrence of shingles by half! While there are various health factors that may determine the best time to get the vaccine, the majority of folks benefit from the vaccine once they turn 50. (I’ve a year to wait…then I’ll get mine!)
For flu shots, your pharmacist can give you your annual flu shot right in the pharmacy. There’s no need to book an appointment…just drop in when the flu vaccine is available and they’ll do the rest! Remember when I had mine? Click here for the full story.
Assessing and Prescribing for Minor Ailments
A minor ailment is a health condition that can be managed with minimal treatment. It’s usually a short-term condition that doesn’t require blood work or lab tests. Minor ailments can be managed by your pharmacist and while it’s province specific, it can include assessing and treating ailments such as acne, seasonal allergies, acid reflux, bacterial skin infections, headaches, muscle strains and UTIs.
Your pharmacist is able to discuss your condition with you in a private area where he or she will assess your symptoms to determine if they will make a treatment recommendation, write a prescription, or refer you to your doctor.
Help Manage Chronic Diseases
Pharmacists are an integral part of your health care team. If you’re dealing with a chronic disease such as diabetes or hypertension, pharmacists can help.
Diabetes can be a tricky condition to manage and many folks living with the disease can count on their pharmacists for an extra hand. Since blood glucose control is a huge part of managing diabetes, pharmacists are ready to assist in helping patients understand their blood glucose readings and, through regular measuring and recording of blood glucose levels, a pharmacist can make recommendations regarding adjustments in food, exercise and medication…in order to reach glucose targets.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects 7.5 million Canadians. Pharmacists are willing and able to help monitor your blood pressure with easy-to-use, in-store machines. Getting your blood pressure under control can help prevent long-term complications such as stroke and heart attack, as well as the development of other conditions such as heart and kidney failure. If you require a prescription to balance your blood pressure, your pharmacist can help you understand your medication and will consult with you on what other medications you should stay clear of as well as what foods to avoid.
Whether it’s to help with weight loss or to find a better balance for living a healthier lifestyle based on your individual health needs, your pharmacist is available for consultation. Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle is important for your overall well-being. Depending on your health issues and medication needs, pharmacists can work with you to plan your best nutritional path.
And finally, pharmacists are keeping an eye on what medications you’re taking and what side effects you should be looking out for. Some medications are affected by various foods or other medications, and your pharmacist is there to make sure you’re educated on what best works for your particular situation. If you’re having any side effects, chat with them…it could be as simple as changing the time of day you take a prescription, removing a food item from your diet or changing to a different medication more suitable to you.
If a prescription is new to you, your pharmacist will take the time to answer any question you may have, in fact, they insist! Pharmacists are a wealth of knowledge when it comes medications and their unwanted side effects. If you’re worried about something, just ask! In fact, schedule an annual medication review with your pharmacist to go over both your prescriptions and over the counter medications, to ensure you’re taking the right ones, at the right time, and in the correct amounts. Your pharmacist is happy to sit down with you for a full review, and to provide you with a list to share with your other health care providers.
AND, did you know your pharmacist may be able to extend your medication so you don’t miss a dose? If time has gotten away from you and you didn’t get to the doctor, once an assessment is made, a pharmacist may be able to prescribe the needed medication.
Your pharmacist plays a key role in the delivery of your health care. They’re available for a chat any time, and based on provincial rules, can provide much, much more than medication dispensing. Find out more online by visiting the Pharmacy Association for your province, your pharmacy’s website…or ASK YOUR PHARMACIST! They have all the answers!
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Have you had a great experience with your Shoppers Drug Mart or Real Atlantic Superstore Pharmacist? We want to know! Fill in the Love your Pharmacist Survey and one reader from Curtains are Open will win a $500 gift card to Shoppers Drug Mart…just by telling your awesome story!
For example: My favourite pharmacist is Thanh Phung from Shoppers Drug Mart on Fenwick Street in Halifax. To show her how awesome she is and let her know how much I appreciate her, I sent a delivery of flowers. Thanh gave me my flu shot this year…and she’s ALWAYS quick to answer any of my questions. Ironically, Thanh is also one of my favourite people to follow on Instagram. She’s not only an amazing pharmacist…but over the last year of working with her, has turned into an wonderful friend.
Fill in the contest information and let us know about your favourite Shoppers Drug Mart or Real Atlantic Superstore pharmacist. Contest will run until March 31st, 2017. For full Contest Rules, click here.
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Disclaimer: I was compensated by Shoppers Drug Mart for this post. As always, opinions are my own.
Very useful information! I wasn’t aware that pharmacists may be able to extend a dose, so you don’t miss it… good to know.
That was new information for me as well!
This is my favorite thing my pharmacist does for me! It’s quite scary when you can’t get in to see your doctor in time. They’ve saved my butt a number of times!
I’m always thankful for the input from them when it comes time to fill an antibiotic prescription for our youngest as she has had an allergic reaction to penicillin, so they very helpful in reassuring me that her prescription won’t harm her!
My pharmacist is very friendly and knowledgable. One time she wasn’t comfortable with the perspecription written for my child so she called up the doctor to confirm and verified it’s the correct dosage, and she also checked the drug’s website to make sure everything checks out!
My local pharmacist saved my butt when I forgot to renew a prescription and was leaving town for business! I love that we can have a holistic approach to care now and not always have to go to a walk-in or use up hospital resources for simple medical matters. Great post! Thanks so much, Colleen!
My local pharmacist has called me the next after getting new medication to see how I was feeling. I was so surprised but happy that she took the time to call me.
Our pharmacists and staff are the best
We can ask any question about meds or even ask about everyday things .If given a new perscripition and old one is the same with one refill left they will if asked to wait for it to run out or ask can the refill New one.They will answer phone calls about things to
The pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart in Truro is amazing. Always friendly and helpful. Saving me money and a lot of time. Answers all my questions .Very knowledgeable. I always feel good after talking to them.
I so appreciate the yearly review of the meds I’m taking done with pharmacists from Shoppers Westgate Plaza in Saskatoon.
Ian so great full for the pharmacy staff they are very helpful to me when Ihave important. .My husband has a lot of pills to take and they help me to understand what they are for .I also take a lot of pills .They are very good.I go to the crown street shoppers the hold staff are great they are number ONE.
I think it is so important how they take time to answer any questions I may have. When my daughter was little she was on medication and they were always very patient and helpful with any questions and concerns I had.
Our Shoppers is in Charlottetown. One week end I went to Moncton and forgot my pills. Shoppers there made arrangements through our pharmacy to get my pills for two days. Until mine got there.
I am forever thankful.
The pharmacist is so good at helping me understand my medications and giving me directions and good advice with each new prescription I get.I leave there with a feeling of confidence about taking any new medications because they are so thorough.
I lived in Lr Sackville for many years, the pharmacists at Shoppers are so friendly and helpful. They were always so,patient in explaining new medications for me and my children. Two of my children still go there for their prescriptions. We lost a much loved pharmacist last year who everyone in the community asked for at one time or other. We miss her.
I found out from the pharmacist on King St in Forest at Pharma Plus, that I should not take any dairy products for r hours after taking my thyroid pill. I appreciated this information very much, since following this advice help keep my TSH levels in check.
Shannon on Quinpool Rd in Halifax is the nicest person and really listened to my concerns and questions.
love ourpharmacy they do everything for us they now.my health like the doc and they check it all before i get it to mske sure its not going to bother my INR and allergies
Sylvia HaslamMy Pharmacist saved my life when I explained to him how my health was deteriorating… There was a conflict with the many drugs I had been prescribed and the number of doses . I also enjoy shopping for gifts for my grandchildren …there always seems to be a novel choice of educational toys . I always shop at SDM first. My store is at Silver Springs …Thanks Marty for your care and kindness. Sylvia Haslam
Pharmacist at shoppers in pembroke ontario. Are all wonderful..friendly smiling caring people
Shoppers Drugmart is always so helpful my fav place to shop
Get my prescription at costo very friendly service
I did not know that Pharmacists could do so much! This is good to know!
My Shoppers is quite new in our neighbourhood and is so much appreciated for the total care the staff give. I get prescription info and minor issues identified and treated there as well as my flu shot.
Love shoppers great deals every week and we gethink all prescriptions filled there too
My local pharmacist at my Shoppers Drug Mart in Burnaby is great. He helped me find clean products for my baby’s eczema and nasal congestion. It helped to know that he used the same products for his own child.
My pharmacist is Shawnessy is awesome. Always helpful and informative.
Our pharmacist is always ready to help us with good informations and suggestions. They avoid us waiting at the emergency clinic several times for minor emergencies with their super nurses.
The pharmacists in Lacombe Ab are always there to answer my questions anytime or help find products best suitable for me.They are also very courteous and friendly.
great information…again my favourite store is there for us!
Our pharmacist lets my four year watch prescriptions be filled from behind the counter and gave her a colouring book. The only problem was is that it’s been over a year and she still loves it too much but to colour in! Haha! The pharmacist gave her another one, but still no luck! We love our pharmacist!
Our pharmacists (Amherst, N.S.) have been very helpful in helping my husband & I deal with various health issues that we are encountering i.e. Senior years., illnesses, etc. They explain everything so well & make us feel confident . They provide a great liaison between doctors and patient. We like their convenient telephone prescription reorder line, especially after closing hours.. Hats off to management & staff!
Thank you for draw. I love shoppers drug mart. Always been my favorite pharmacy.