Philippe Leng, pharmacist owner affiliated with Familiprix.

I have been very active over the past few days on social networks, on the pharmacy page (Familiprix Philippe Leng) in order to: (1) participate in the efforts in keeping the population well informed, (2) to prevent a panic from reducing the effectiveness of the preventative measures announced and (3) to establish new recommendations concerning visits to pharmacies and the renewal of prescriptions. Here is a summary of these three points.

Be well informed

It is true that the situation is worrying because it is important to limit it spreading quickly. This virus is dangerous, especially for people with aggravating factors like chronic diseases or for the elderly. It is therefore important for these people to follow the recommendations to the letter and, for the rest of the population, to avoid visiting or being around them so as not to endanger them.

Here are the main individual preventive recommendations:
– Say hello from afar, don’t shake hands or kiss (for anyone)
– Frequent hand washing under running water, with soap, for 20 seconds
– Use disposable tissues
– Sneeze and cough in your elbow
– Limit your trips and non-compulsory meetings. The fewer people you meet, the less you are at risk. Walking in the great outdoors is still a good idea, but make sure to keep your distance from other people you may meet along the way.
– Stay at home if you are sick (no outings; ask friends for help if necessary)
– Act for the good of all

The best way to fight this pandemic is to act for the good of all. So, if some of the recommendations seem unnecessary, do them anyway, for the others. These measures seem harmless, but they are the most effective. These are the measures that have effectively controlled the spread of the Ebola virus.

For the vast majority of people (about 80%), the virus is harmless and will only cause few flu-like symptoms. The frequency of COVID-19 symptoms in 55,924 confirmed Chinese patients is as follows:
– fever (87.9%)
– dry cough (67.7%)
– fatigue (38.1%)
– wet cough (33.4%)
– shortness of breath (18.6%)
– sore throat (13.9%)
– headache (13.6%)
– body aches, joint pain (14.8%)
– chills (11.4%)
– nausea or vomiting (5.0%)
– nasal congestion (4.8%)
– diarrhea (3.7%)
– blood in sputum (0.9%)
– conjunctivitis (0.8%)

Since these are flu-like symptoms, two other factors should be considered to assess our risk of it being Covid-19 coronavirus:
– having traveled or having been in contact with someone who has recently traveled (especially if it is a country with a higher level of infection),
– have difficulty breathing.

Sometimes almost no symptoms are detected, and sometimes all symptoms are, along with difficulty breathing. The most important symptom is the latter. If you are having trouble breathing or are short of breath, it is important to consult a professional quickly. You can dial 811 or call this toll-free number: 1 877 644-4545. If someone close to you stops breathing, call 911 immediately.

Note, too, that since nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; such as ibuprofen) could benefit the virus if infected, their use is currently not recommended for people with flu symptoms. Instead, take acetaminophen.

Avoid panic

Anxiety is normal, but that is not a reason not to apply the previous recommendations or to disrespect anyone. Several tips for dealing with stress related to this situation were mentioned in the previous article. I invite you to read it and even reread the tips and recommendations. Talk about it with those around you.

The slowdown of the spread, through the measures taken to date, is essential if health professionals are to have the resources and the time to care for those who need it most. These are collective measures, for the good of all. Also think of all the healthcare professionals who are also stressed by the situation and who are asked to redouble their efforts to meet the demand.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my pharmacist colleagues, but also all of the pharmacy staff, nurses, doctors and team members currently at work. You are doing an exceptional job.

New instructions from the pharmacy

To make it easier for pharmacists and pharmacy staff, here are some important guidelines to follow to the letter. The purpose of these guidelines is to reduce the risk of the virus spreading:
– Call the pharmacy or use the online renewal service. It’s always a pleasure to serve you in person, but the phone cannot transmit the virus.
– Allow two hours to pick up your prescriptions to be sure they are ready and thus avoid the accumulation of customers in the laboratory.
– Limit yourself to one month of medication renewal at a time. Please note: it is not because certain medications are not available; it is to make sure we can continue to serve people as best as we can.
– Do not bring your vials of medicine to the pharmacy to reduce the risk of contaminating staff. We will make the renewals from the prescription numbers.
– Keep a distance of one meter. Keep your distance from everyone you meet, but also from the staff of pharmacies so that they can be there for the entire period necessary during the fight of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Thank you for your help; it is together that we will overcome this delicate situation.