Pharmacists are urging people not to stockpile medications, as fears about COVID-19 continue to spread.
According to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), stockpiling is "completely unnecessary and could trigger drug shortages".
"The IPU encourages people to have common non-prescription medications for cold, fever and allergies on hand. People who require medication on a regular basis should also ensure their prescriptions are up to date. We do not recommend, however, stockpiling medications in large quantities," it said.
It insisted that if there is a disruption in the supply of medication, "pharmacists manage their stock carefully to ensure that all their patients can receive a quantity of the medication to meet their immediate needs".
"Unnecessary stockpiling of medication can create unintended shortages and puts other patients' health at risk," the IPU noted.
It said that if people are concerned about their medication, or are sick at home in need of medication, they should call their pharmacist.
"Many pharmacies may be able to offer a delivery service to help patients get their medications when they can't leave their home," the IPU pointed out.
Meanwhile, the union also reminded people that if they are displaying COVID-19 symptoms, they should not attend their pharmacy or GP.
"In order to ensure that pharmacies can continue to provide services as this illness spreads, pharmacy staff must be protected from unnecessary exposure to coronavirus.
"Therefore, pharmacists emphasise the advice of the HSE that anyone who has been to an affected place in the last 14 days or who has had contact with someone with coronavirus and who is exhibiting fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms of Covid-19, should not attend at a pharmacy or GP clinic. Instead, they should stay at home and phone their GP or local emergency department without delay," the IPU explained.
Covid-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person's body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing), or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of the virus to show. These may include a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties and fever (high temperature).
COVID-19 can also cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia and severe breathing difficulties.
Everyone is asked to follow public health advice, including the following protective measures:
-Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
-Maintain at least one metre (three feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing/sneezing
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
-Practice cough and sneeze hygiene - covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough/sneeze. Then dispose of the tissue immediately.
Anyone who has been to an affected region (mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran and northern Italy) in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms, should self-isolate and call their GP.
Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and call their GP.
For more information on COVID-19, click here or here.
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