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Preparing for Flu Season: The core measures for pharmacies to take

The CDC expects there to be 9 million flu infections and 4,500 deaths caused by the virus this flu season.

Drug Mart Pharmacy, an independent drugstore in South Plainfield, New Jersey, in January 2022. Credit - Art Author, Public Domain (CC0 1.0)
Drug Mart Pharmacy, an independent drugstore in South Plainfield, New Jersey, in January 2022. Credit - Art Author, Public Domain (CC0 1.0)

With influenza season here, pharmacies are taking extra precautions to ensure their customers stay safe. The season occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere, although the peak month is February.

Given many who are ill go to pharmacies, it is important that pharmacy owners take the necessary steps to prevent a potential outbreak in their store. From implementing new sanitation methods to creating social distancing policies, there are several measures pharmacists need to consider for keeping their stores secure.

For the U.S., the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects there to be 9 million flu infections and 4,500 deaths caused by the virus this flu season.

Sanitization Protocols

One of the most critical aspects of staying healthy is keeping the store clean and sanitary. During flu season, it is even more important to be vigilant about sanitation protocols. Good advice includes making sure that all surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs, are constantly cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner throughout the day. It’s also important to use hand sanitizer at regular intervals so that germs don’t spread from person-to-person contact.

Social distancing

Another important thing to do is to implement social distancing protocols. This means setting up barriers between customers who are standing in line or limiting the number of people who can be inside the pharmacy at any given time.

Setting up signs or markers on the ground can help remind customers of proper social distancing habits while they are shopping. It is also a good idea to have signage around the store that encourages people to wear masks and practice good hygiene while they are visiting. 

Vaccination

Pharmacies should encourage everyone in your community to get vaccinated against the flu if they haven’t already done so. Many pharmacies offer both traditional shots and nasal sprays for those who prefer not to receive a needle injection. By offering vaccinations at an affordable price (or free if possible), you can help protect those around you from getting sick this upcoming flu season. 

As winter quickly approaches, pharmacy owners need to be prepared for what could potentially be an incredibly difficult flu season due to COVID-19. Fortunately, there are several measures you can take—from implementing new sanitation protocols to encouraging vaccinations—that will help keep the store and its customers safe.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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