It’s well known that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but did you know that it’s also American Pharmacists Month? This year, for the first time, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Governor Pat McCrory have declared October American Pharmacists Month in Chapel Hill and the state of North Carolina.
The profession of pharmacy has come a long way in the last few decades. Pharmacists aren’t just “pill pushers” sitting behind the counter at your local pharmacy and counting out pills. They are the medication experts of the health care team. Some of their newer roles include giving immunizations, rounding with doctors in hospitals, and in many states (including North Carolina), they can even prescribe medications.
Pharmacists ensure that your prescriptions are filled accurately and safely. They are also an excellent resource to help you take your medications correctly and get the maximum benefit from them. They can teach you how to use your new inhaler or nose spray correctly, and they are the best people to ask about which over the counter products would be the best and safest for you. Pharmacists have special training in many areas including the management of conditions like diabetes and asthma. Studies have shown that frequent conversations with pharmacists between regular doctor visits can help improve control of these conditions and improve quality of life.
Student pharmacists here at UNC are involved in many different projects providing education about medications and promoting healthy living across campus and throughout the community. On any given day at Campus Health, you can wander into the pharmacy and receive a flu shot from one of these student pharmacists. They organize health screenings at local pharmacies to improve awareness of conditions like high blood pressure. They even put together after-school events to talk to kids about diabetes and promote healthy living starting at a young age.
The pharmacists here at Campus Health each have special areas of training and interests. They can help you choose the right form of contraception and answer any questions you may have about it. They can even prescribe emergency contraception for those “uh oh” moments. They work closely with students with diabetes to help them make the transition to life in college. If you’re studying abroad, they can help make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you leave, including making vaccination recommendations and providing preventative medications for travel-related illnesses such as malaria and altitude illness.
Pharmacists strive every day to help people in their community lead healthier lives. Utilize them for more than just filling prescriptions, and you will surely see the benefits. October is American Pharmacist Month; now is the time to get to know your medicines and know your pharmacist.