With the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to make sure you have all the food, household supplies and medications you need, especially when you’re advised to stay home to help slow the spread of the virus.
Since grocery store shelves are unusually empty, it’s natural to wonder whether pharmacy shelves will be, too. But don’t worry; you should be able to get the prescriptions you need, even during a pandemic. Take extra precautions to make sure you have daily essentials on hand, including prescription and over-the-counter medication.
Getting the Medications You Need During the Coronavirus Pandemic
There are several safe ways to get the prescription and over-the-counter medication you need to stay healthy and feel better during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following social distancing recommendations, it’s important to limit your trips to the pharmacy as much as possible and find alternative ways to get your prescriptions. Depending on your pharmacy, operating hours vary by location, so be sure to check with your local pharmacy first before heading out if you’d prefer to pick up prescriptions in person and want to go to the pharmacy early or late in the day.
To avoid making repeat trips to the pharmacy, bring a list of your medications when picking up your prescriptions so you don’t forget any. You can also ask the pharmacist to time your refills so all medications can be refilled on the same schedule, if possible.
Stay 6 Feet Away From Others If You Go Inside the Pharmacy
When picking up your prescriptions inside a retail pharmacy location, leave at least 6 feet of space between you and the next customer in line.
This is a social distancing basic that’s everyone’s responsibility to follow, because coronavirus is highly contagious. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person.
If an infected person coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets in the air can travel to others who are within about 6 feet. If you’re feeling sick and leave your house, even for medical care, you could infect other people who may have compromised immune systems, so be sure to keep your distance.
Now more than ever, keeping your distance is important, because it’s not always obvious who’s sick and who isn’t. The CDC says that even people who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms can pass the virus to others. This means that even if you’re not feeling sick, you could have the virus and haven’t developed symptoms yet. Because of this, the CDC is now recommending that people make and wear homemade cloth masks when going out to public places, like grocery stores, while also staying 6 feet away from people.
Whether you’re standing in the pharmacy line or searching for over-the-counter medication, be sure to adhere to the CDC’s recommendation of maintaining a distance of 6 feet between you and others.
Fill New Prescriptions Via Mail Order
When you receive a new prescription, ask your doctor if it can be filled via mail order. They may be able to send you more refills at a time this way. This makes mail order a convenient option to refill your prescription and have extras on hand as you shelter at home. If you have current prescriptions that you pick up at a pharmacy, ask your doctor or pharmacist about switching to mail ordering.
Try No-Contact Home Delivery
Some national and locally owned pharmacies offer free home delivery for medications that aren’t controlled substances or require refrigeration. Prescriptions are delivered right to your door, mailbox or a safe place at your delivery address. Call your local pharmacy for details.
Use the Drive-Thru at Your Local Pharmacy
If you use a national pharmacy and it has a dedicated drive-thru pickup line, consider going that route to pick up your prescriptions to limit your contact with other customers inside the pharmacy, and help keep your pharmacist safe, too.
Call in your refill request before picking it up from the pharmacy. If picking up the phone is more your style, you can request prescription refills by calling an automated phone line. You’ll need just your prescription number; check your medication label.
More Medication Tips for Staying Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you take medication for a chronic condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma or depression, you’ll need to have a supply of your regular medication. Make sure you have more than enough medication so that you don’t run out of any medications you need on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
No matter what’s happening in the world or with family members, continuing to take your medication as prescribed can help you manage the condition so you can be healthy and in the best possible shape to cope with the pandemic.
If You’re at High Risk for Severe Illness, Have a Supply of Medication at Home
The CDC recommends keeping an extra supply of medication on hand in case you’re self-quarantined or need to stay home for a prolonged period of time. Staying home is especially important if you’re at higher risk for serious illness from coronavirus.
According to the CDC, you’re at higher risk for complications of coronavirus if you:
- Are 65 or older
- Are severely obese, defined as a body mass index (BMI) over 40
- Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- Have a chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- Have a compromised immune system, like from cancer treatment, HIV or prolonged use of corticosteroids
- Have a serious heart condition
- Have an underlying medical condition that’s not well-controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease
Whether you’re in the high-risk category or not, the CDC recommends having a supply of medication that can see you through the next seven to 10 days. But during the coronavirus outbreak, it may be better to have an even larger medication supply.
Through the AdventHealth app, you can set up a telemedicine (also called telehealth) appointment with your doctor, right on your smartphone or tablet. In the app, you can set up a video visit with your doctor, where you can ask them whether it’s possible for you to get a 60-day or 90-day emergency refill supply.
Remember to Get Over-the-Counter Medication
While you’re getting necessary prescription medication, don’t forget over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies, such as fever-reducers, to treat fever and other symptoms.
Most people will be able to recover from coronavirus at home. But an over-the-counter pain reliever can help ease symptoms, such as fever.
To limit trips to the store, make a list of everything you might need, including pantry staples. If you have allergies, for example, make sure you have enough over-the-counter allergy medication to see you through allergy season.
Wash Your Hands Often
To reduce your risk of contracting coronavirus, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for 20 seconds each time, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose and face throughout the day.
If You Feel Sick, Call Your Physician
If you or a family member feels sick and you suspect you may have coronavirus because you have coronavirus symptoms, stay home and call your doctor or make a telemedicine appointment with them.
Call your physician or make a telehealth appointment for a video visit with your doctor using the secure AdventHealth app. Tell your physician about your symptoms, whether you think you may have coronavirus or something else.
A phone call or video visit can provide your physician with the details needed to make an informed medical decision about your care, including prescribing any medications you may need.
Most people with coronavirus can get better on their own from home. Your physician can advise you on what to do next based on what you’re experiencing and your overall health status. To get started, simply download the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store onto your smartphone or tablet computer.
Your Trusted Source for COVID-19 Information and More
We’re here for you and your family at every stage of the coronavirus pandemic. From how to safely get prescriptions during the coronavirus pandemic, to healthy staples to have on hand while you’re at home, we’ve got you covered. For more information about managing the coronavirus pandemic, visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub.