Those working in a pharmacy are exposed to diseases from the many patients they serve. These patients are often in close proximity to pharmacy professionals throughout the day, making social distancing difficult. These are two factors that increase risk for becoming sick from COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.
The good news is that there are simple things you can do as a pharmacy technician to help reduce your risk as well as the risk for patients who visit your pharmacy.
1. Wash your hands often
Hand washing is the single most important thing to help minimize the spread of infection. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
2. Disinfect public spaces
Use an Environmental Protection Agency-approved disinfectant to clean counters, waiting areas, and other spaces in the waiting area. Surfaces should be cleaned at least every hour or after every 10 patients, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
3. Give people plenty of space
Everyone working in the pharmacy should maintain a distance of at least six (6) feet from patients. You can also encourage social distancing by directing patients to use the drive-through window, curbside pick-up or home delivery, if possible.
Try to screen patients over the phone before they come to pick up a prescription. If they are sick with symptoms of COVID-19, encourage them to arrange for a healthy family member to pick up the prescription or suggest delivery, instead.
4. Educate yourself of the latest guidelines
There are numerous resources available to ensure you are up to date on the latest federal updates, state level information, and additional resources to assist pharmacy professionals.
It is also important to follow all CDC travel guidelines and the recommendations of your state and local health officials.