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COVID-19: Just before it gets out of hand

We have continued to appraise the unfortunate incidence of COVID – 19 from both a global and local perspective and salute the efforts of healthcare providers across the globe who have been very diligent even as they continue to risk their lives to save that of others.

We note the gallantry of the silent health workforce braving the frontline and dealing with the crisis but unfortunately being largely ignored by the Government, media stakeholders and even consumers of health. As the reality of shutdowns confronts the public, community pharmacies and their staff remain open to provide services with no barriers, no testing and no chance of closing to the public.

Community Pharmacists have had to deal with increased workload caused by panic ordering of medicines in advance but also a directly proportional increase in demand for other basic household care products from antiseptics, soap, disinfectants and such related products

Our colleagues have also had to contend with panic-stricken clients who are gradually stripping pharmacies of essential items which are now becoming a lot more difficult to replenish on the shelves.

Pharmacists have observed an unprecedented demand for chloroquine since the declaration of a prominent world leader who is certainly not an expert in this competence driven endeavour.

We advise all potential consumers who will procure chloroquine to seek the professional guidance and counsel of registered pharmacists so that appropriate doses can be dispensed with necessary precautionary measures including possible side effects, adverse reactions and other dosage regimen details which will be communicated professionally.

The corona virus obstructs the respiratory pathway by producing mucous that blocks the airways and lungs. Treatment therefore must focus on unblocking the airways and lungs.

Since the above occurs within a few days so there are some recommended measures to slow down the progression and activation to a full-blown disease manifestation. some of these simple measures include: Drinking a lot of liquid preferably warm water.

Hot soups in a variety of the local presentations is desirable.

Administering warm water every 20minutes makes the mouth moist as well as washes away any virus in the mouth. The insignificant amount that may get into the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) or gut can be taken care of by stomach acid thus preventing the virus from getting into the lungs.

Employing gargles with warm water, vinegar, lemon water and antiseptics everyday reduces the chances of the virus from getting to the lungs.

The virus attaches to the hair of cloth where it can survive for many hours. Most detergents which foams will kill the virus. It is therefore necessary to wash your body and cloths after every outing this season.

If you cannot wash your clothes every day for whatever reasons, do spread the cloth in direct sunlight which equally kills the virus.

Avoid touching handrails, other metal surface such as door handles because the virus can last for up to nine hours on such hard surfaces.

Avoid smoking especially in this season of emergency.

You need to regularly wash your hands with soap that foams even if you cannot afford a hand sanitiser. An interval of at least 30minutes is suggested in between hands washing.

Eat fruits and vegetables as these will increase body natural vitamin C levels as well as increase zinc intake. These ingredients are salient to boost natural immunity against the virus.

Animals do not spread the virus. it is largely a human to human contact that facilitates its spread.

All tendencies of social distancing currently being preached must be observed.

Avoid the common flu and reduce the eating and drinking of cold foods and fluids.

If you feel any pain or sensation in your throat kindly attack with conventional method and seek further counsel at your regular Community Pharmacy or from other healthcare providers around you.

Dr Samuel O. Adekola (Pharm. D), Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN)

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