Keep your patients healthy in the summer
6 common summer illnesses and how your pharmacy can help patients through them
We think of winter as the time when people get sick. Summer is supposed to be when everyone is healthy and active. But, there are several sicknesses that are common in the summer. Your pharmacy can treat patients who are experiencing one of these sicknesses.
#1: Summer colds
The types of viruses that cause summer and winter colds can be different, but the nature of having a cold is pretty much the same. Symptoms include nasal congestion, a dry cough, ear pressure and occasionally a fever. 1
Treatments for summer colds are the same as for winter colds: hydration, oral decongestants, oral anti-inflammatories and nasal saline rinses.
#2: Heat-related health dangers
Older people are at significant risk of heat-related illnesses, known as hyperthermia. This is because as people age, their ability to respond to summer heat can be a serious problem. Issues can include heat stroke, heat edema (swelling in the ankles and feet), heat syncope (dizziness), heat cramps and heat exhaustion.2
Common symptoms of heat exhaustion include:3
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Muscle cramps
- Flushed skin
The NIH says heat can affect individuals who:4
- Have heart, lung and kidney diseases
- Have high blood pressure
- Take several drugs for various conditions
The best way to avoid heat-related illnesses is to stay out of the heat and stay hydrated. Your pharmacy can sell small fans and cooling devices, such as mini-misting fans and cooling body towels (see Fun Products and Techniques to Boost Your Profitable Front-End Sales).
This summer, when filling prescriptions for seniors, make sure they have what they need to stay cool and that they are aware of the importance of staying hydrated on hot days.
Summer can be a difficult time for those with asthma. Sudden changes in weather, like a humid day, can trigger an attack.
To help your asthma patients, make sure they continue their normal treatment routine in the summer and have their inhaler with them at all times.5
#4: Food poisoning
Foodborne illness peaks in the summer.6 The two reasons why are:
- Bacteria multiply faster in warmer temperatures.
- Preparing food outdoors — which occurs more frequently in the summer — makes safe food handling more difficult.
To prevent food poisoning, make your customers aware of the USDA’s recommendations to avoid foodborne illness when cooking outdoors. And, offer products like towelettes, food thermometers and coolers.
|Wash hands and surfaces often. When eating away from home, bring water, towelettes and paper towels to clean hands and surfaces.|
|To prevent cross-contamination, separate meats when prepping and grilling.|
|Proper cooking temperatures are necessary to kill harmful bacteria. A food thermometer can ensure safe cooking.|
|Refrigerate perishable foods promptly and keep food cold.|
#5: Insect bites and stings7
The risks from insects vary based on geography. In many places mosquitos are the most annoying summer insect. They can be dangerous because mosquitos carry illnesses like West Nile virus. Offer a range of insect repellants and encourage customers to avoid peak mosquito hours like dawn and dusk.
In some locations ticks are a major threat, as they can carry diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. You can remind patients to inspect themselves and children frequently and to look for the common signs of a tick bite.
#6: Poison oak or ivy rash
Getting a rash from poison oak or poison ivy is a common summertime occurrence in some locations. The severity depends on the amount of the plant’s oil that transfers to a person’s skin.
Treatments to reduce itching include over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion and possibly oral antihistamines, such as Benadryl. Also, a cool-water bath containing an oatmeal-based product like Aveeno can be helpful.8
As you know, in the summertime, patients still get sick and still need a wide range of treatments. You can offer and promote these summer treatments to help your customers get back to enjoying their summer as quickly as possible.