As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases surge throughout the country this fall, pharmacists are concerned and tired.

Many pharmacists have been working on the front lines for months. COVID-19 has increased anxiety and stress in all health care workers, many of whom are concerned they may bring the virus home to their partners, children, parents, or grandparents. How to keep family members safe during COVID-19 has been uppermost in the minds of many.

Here are 4 ways to continue to protect family members.
  • Be vigilant. As we hit 8 months of COVID-19, many pharmacists are tired, but this is not the time to let one’s guard down. Pharmacists should continue to wash their clothing after work. This was likely a practice for many already, but now it is a necessity. Changing clothes when getting home prior to interacting with or touching loved ones is critical. Taking a shower is also a smart idea. We have seen from other pandemics that when people let their guard down, larger surges began.
  • Disinfect. Washing hands is still imperative when arriving home, as is disinfecting all belongings, including cell phones and headsets. Have more than 1 cloth mask, and wash them after each use. Do not wear a dirty mask or reuse any personal protective equipment.
  • Focus on mental health. Isolating oneself from family members and friends can exacerbate anxiety and other mental health issues. We are all in this together. It is important to maintain relationships, which are the most important factor in our well-being. Limiting contact and not seeing those who are close to us is not good for mental health. Choose to see others outdoors or in a way that maintains social distance, but making contact is vital.
  • Remember home safety. Clean the air ducts and vents in the house and use a high-efficiency particulate air vacuum, if possible. Opening windows and internal doors to circulate air is also helpful. Ensure that all those who enter the house to do work, such as cleaning crews, electricians, or painters, wear masks
 
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS, is the chief academic officer at the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs and the founder of Pharmacist Moms, the largest group of female pharmacists in the United States, with more than 31,000 members.