A Breath of Fresh Air
Spring is here, and though the change of season brings warmer weather and new life, it also can be a source of distress for those with allergies, asthma, or COPD.
Spring is here, and though the change of season brings warmer weather and new life, it also can be a source of distress for those with allergies, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Fortunately, pharmacists are ideally positioned to help these patients breathe a little easier this time of year.
Allergies are the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness in the United States and affect more than 50 million Americans each year, with seasonal allergic diseases such as hay fever particularly common, according to the CDC.1 As the most accessible members of the health care team, pharmacists have an incredible opportunity to counsel patients looking for symptom relief and point them in the direction of an appropriate treatment.
Respiratory diseases, such as asthma and COPD, also place an enormous burden on patients—CDC data indicate that there are more than 24 million patients with asthma in the United States.2 Pharmacists can play a role in diagnosing and managing these conditions, as well. The results of a recent study published in Journal of Primary Care & Community Health showed that allowing pharmacists to perform spirometry tests led to an increase in referral competition, allowing patients to get the treatment they need.3 These results highlight the benefits of fully utilizing pharmacists on the health care team, as well as emphasizing the importance of advocating to advance the profession.
To help pharmacists meet patients’ respiratory health needs this spring, this issue of Pharmacy Times® contains practical information on allergic rhinitis, asthma, COPD, smoking cessation, whooping cough, and more. Additionally, be sure to check out this month’s free continuing education activity on uncontrolled diabetes. Finally, consider celebrating the pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students who go above and beyond in promoting patients’ health through our Next-Generation Pharmacist® Awards. If you know of exceptional individuals worthy of recognition, head over to nextgenerationpharmacist.com and submit a nomination.
Thank you for reading!
- CDC. Allergies. CDC website. cdc.gov/healthcommunication/ToolsTemplates/EntertainmentEd/Tips/Allergies.html. Updated September 15, 2017. Accessed March 20, 2018.
- CDC. Most recent asthma data. CDC website. cdc.gov/asthma/most_recent_data.htm. Updated February 13, 2018. Accessed March 20, 2018.