The 5th to the 11th of September is Pharmacy Week, a week that’s been set aside to highlight the role that pharmacists play in helping to prevent illness and maintain good health. This year, Pharmacy Week takes a look at how to Use Medicine Safely. The theme is illustrated through the red, orange and green lights of a traffic light, with each light representing an important aspect of safe medicine usage:
- Red is for STOP – stop and ask yourself why you’re taking a specific medication and if you know how and when to take it?
- Orange is for ASK – ask your pharmacist if you are unsure about the medicine you’re planning to take and how to safely use or store this medicine.
- And green is for GO – go and get well by using your medicine as discussed with your pharmacist.
Head of public affairs for the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa (PSSA), Lorraine Osman says: “Medicines can affect your health negatively if taken incorrectly, misused or abused , so it’s vital that you consult your pharmacist when filling your prescription or buying over-the-counter medication. Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips and are able to confirm the correct dosage of medication, when it should be taken with regard to meals, provide information about any possible side effects you may experience, advise which medications can and which should not be taken together, which foods to avoid when certain medicines are being taken and they will tell you how to store your medicines safely.”
Pharmacists are also able to offer the following valuable services:
Many pharmacies have on-site clinics. These offer a range of services, including blood pressure checks, glucose and cholesterol screening, vaccinations, HIV tests and minor wound care.
- Safe disposal of medications
Stuck with unused, unwanted or expired medication? Many pharmacies assist with the safe disposal of medicines, but if you’re not sure whether your pharmacy does, call ahead and check. Most public sector pharmacies will also accept these medicines for disposal.
- Generic medications
Your pharmacist can recommend a generic alternative to ease the strain on your wallet.
For more information on Pharmacy Week, click here to access a handy health tag through your mobile phone.