Summer is a great time to educate your community about different health topics that arise more frequently this time of year at your pharmacy. We’ve compiled a few topics within this blog post to help you ensure your patients have a healthy and safe summer season.
Summer Travel Vaccinations
With lessening travel restrictions following the peak of the pandemic, it is estimated that travel plans will be increasing this summer. With that being said, it is important to promote summer health by reminding patients that some areas require travelers to have certain vaccinations. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) has a great resource for travel vaccinations that shows what vaccinations, if any, are required for specific destinations. Here are a few other things to make sure to share with your patients when discussing travel vaccinations:
- Encourage patients to plan ahead, as any vaccines require weeks or months to complete the series.
- Remind patients to take vaccination documentation on their trip to avoid travel complications.
- Make sure patients are up-to-date on all of their routine vaccinations as well to promote summer health and keep them safe throughout their travels.
The CDC’s Clinician Resource Center is an excellent tool for travel health knowledge for health care providers. Here you can find Vaccine Information Statements (VIS), Factsheets for Travelers, Travel Notices, and a slew of other resources to help you provide the best education to your traveling patients.
Insect Bite/ Sting Prevention & Treatment at Your Pharmacy
Patients going on outdoor excursions should be mindful of preventing bites from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. These insect bites can cause severe diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and Lyme disease The CDC recommends the use of EPA-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanoate.
Check out this inspect repellent toolkit, which has fact sheets, social media graphics, and other digital education materials that you can share with your patients. In most cases, symptoms from insect bites or stings can be treated with over-the-counter treatment options such as antihistamines, cetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine, and pain relievers as needed. Make sure to have these items stocked and readily accessible for your patients, especially during peak travel months.
Allergy symptoms can make travel less enjoyable for your patients. We certainly don’t want that! Summer allergies are often caused by tree and grass pollination. Symptoms often include itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny or stuffy nose. Be sure to remind your patients to pick up a medication that will help eliminate these pesky symptoms from their travel plans. Some common medications you might recommend to patients include cetirizine, diphenhydramine, loratadine, and Fexofenadine.
ZYRTEC®, has a neat AllergyCast® app that patients can use to get insight into the pollen counts in a certain area as well as tips to manage allergy symptoms
Summer Medication Safety
In the midst of their travels, patients probably don’t have their medications at the top of their minds. It is important to not only make sure that patients remember to take their medications, but also that they are storing them properly and aware of any risks from the sun and heat. Below are a few ways to help patients take their medications safely in the summer:
- Suggest specific medication containers – repacking their medication supplies in a dosette box can help patients make sure they have enough supply of all of their medications as well as have them easily organized for when they need a dose. This makes traveling and staying on top of medications much easier.
- Advise on proper storage – Heat can reduce the efficacy of prescriptions drug so it is especially important to make sure to stress storage requirements in the summer months when talking to patients. Might they need to pack a cooler for a specific medication? Might they need to keep one at room temperature? Having these conversations with your patients can lead to increased efficacy of their meds while on trips.
- Make Patients Aware of Photosensitivity – Many common medications can increase patients’ risk of a photosensitive reaction. It’s imperative for us to be extra vigilant in the summer months about educating patients taking medications that make them more susceptible to the sun’s effects.
- Send refill reminders – Using your Vow IVR features or two-way messaging, you can send additional refill reminders to patients this summer and have plenty of supplies before heading off on any trips.
We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about how you can impact patient’s summer health through educating on travel vaccines, insect and bug bite prevention and treatment, allergies, and medication safety.