How Your Community Pharmacist Can Help You and Your Child

How your Community Pharmacist Can Help You and Your Child

Imagine that it is a Saturday afternoon and your child says that he/she is not feeling well. He/she has a mild fever, is coughing frequently, and complains of a sore throat. If your child is sick, you’ll likely want to have him/her seen by a physician. You are also likely to have many questions to ask your doctor. However, have you ever considered making a list of questions and concerns to share with your pharmacist? Did you know that your pharmacist has a unique set of skills to help you and your child?

If you’re like most parents, the answers to these questions are likely no. However, today’s pharmacists are trained to provide valuable information about the medicines they dispense and to answer questions from the patients they serve. While pharmacists have special knowledge of medications, they are also able to recommend a variety of therapy options based on the symptoms your child may be experiencing.

A number of pharmacists that graduated before the 1980s obtained a 5-year bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Now, it is common practice for pharmacists to receive a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, in which they receive training in a wide variety of areas. Pharmacists are required to stay up-to-date on the changing world of medicine and to take continuing education classes on drug therapy. Pharmacists can answer many questions about medicines, recommend non-prescription drugs, and discuss side effects of specific medications. They can also help with a number of other issues that you, as a parent, might be concerned with.

 Tips for Getting Children to Take Medications

Getting your child to take medicine when he/she is sick is no easy task, which can be further complicated if he/she had a bad experience with a medication in the past. Whether your child needs to take a short-term antibiotic or a medication for something more serious over a longer period of time, it’s important that the experience be a positive one. Pharmacists can give you a variety of tips or recommendations to help your child take their needed medications.

General Advice

Another way in which a pharmacist may be able to help you is by determining the need for your child to see a physician. Today’s pharmacists have been trained to identify signs and symptoms to determine the potential benefit your child may receive from taking an over-the-counter medication. They can also help determine the proper dose of these medications, and provide information on their benefits and safety. Pharmacists can also help determine if there is a need for your child to visit the physician’s office.

Over-the-Counter Recommendations

Have you ever tried searching for something to give your child but wee unable to find what you were looking for in the numerous over-the-counter medications? Did you ever need help determining what you should give your child to help with his/her symptoms, or wonder what dose he/she might need? Pharmacists have vast knowledge regarding these medications. They are willing to provide you with the best information and advice regarding these medications in order to ensure the safety and efficacy of the medication for your child.

Medications and Breastfeeding

If you are taking medications and want to determine if they are safe with breastfeeding, you can speak with the pharmacist. They can help you determine if there is a concern with taking a particular medication while breastfeeding and provide you with tips about how you might continue to breastfeed while taking a medication, (e.g. spacing the medication from the time of breastfeeding, or pumping breast milk). Additionally, they may be able to recommend products to help you with potential concerns such as irritation or discomfort.

Education and Safety

Pharmacists and student pharmacists play a large role in educating children about the proper use of prescription medications. It may be beneficial to ask your pharmacist to speak with your child about the importance of medication safety. If your child takes a prescription medication, consider having him/her involved in the discussion with the pharmacist. This will help him/her become more knowledgeable about why he/she is taking the medication. Additionally, pharmacists have numerous tips for medication safety. This includes suggestions for proper storage of medications so they are out of reach of children, storing medications so they are not altered by temperature or light, and tips on how you can talk with your children about medications in order to keep your child safe. 

Overall, your community pharmacist is a great health care professional to utilize. Your community pharmacies are commonly open most of the day and on weekends, making them easily accessible. Additionally, if you are to call a doctor’s office, you may not have the opportunity to speak with a physician. However, when you call or visit your community, your pharmacist will be available to speak with you and help you about many of your healthcare needs. Therefore, the next time you have a question for your doctor regarding your child’s health, consider what your pharmacist can do for you.

Josh Roehrick

March 2016