The unprecedented bushfire season has been devastating in so many ways. Many people are unable to access medications and other essential items to support their healthcare and well-being. For those in areas not directly affected, the effect on air quality as smoke particles drift between states (and even as far as New Zealand) can have damaging effects for those living with heart and lung disease, especially asthma and COPD.
How can Ramsay Pharmacy help you?
Ramsay Pharmacy is here to support your health in the following ways:
- Asthma reliever (salbutamol) inhalers are available without prescription at your local pharmacy. Remember to keep your inhaler with you at all times in case there is an emergency evacuation.
- In emergency situations (such as if you have lost your essential medicines in a fire and cannot see a doctor for new prescriptions), we may be able to help. In Victoria and New South Wales, the state governments have temporarily allowed pharmacists to supply standard quantities of prescription-only medications without a prescription, but only in emergencies. If you think you are eligible, talk to your Ramsay Pharmacist.
- Did you know that 90% of people who use asthma and COPD inhalers don’t use them correctly?Incorrect technique increases the risk of flare-ups and can result in hospitalisation, especially with current smoke levels. See your Ramsay Pharmacist today to obtain the best result from your inhaler medications.
- For those who require assistance with wounds, we have a wide range of dressings and other solutions.
For people living with lung problems, it’s important to remember:
Bushfire smoke often worsens asthma and COPD conditions. The effect of smoke on your breathing can take days to develop.
The Lung Foundation Australia recommends that you:
- Keep medication close at hand
- Have an emergency plan to handle power loss or evacuation
- Consult with your GP to develop an action plan to handle flare-ups
- Avoid outdoor physical activity in smoky areas
- Close doors and windows to keep smoke outside
It’s also important to maintain your mental well-being in a crisis.
People who have experienced natural disasters often have psychological effects as a result of this experience and the loss of belongings, people and property, impact on the environment or simply their normal everyday life. Emotions are often either acutely intense or numb – both are normal. To help maintain your mental well-being:
- Look after your physical well-being: Try to eat regular, healthy meals and be physically active. Exercise helps to improve depression, and it could be an important distraction from what is a terrible situation.
- Find a routine: Routine gives you control, and being in control relieves stress. Introducing a routine also helps bring back a sense of normality.
- Break tasks down into manageable chunks: The ‘to-do’ list after a natural disaster can seem overwhelming – where do you start? Try and break down large tasks like cleaning up a smoke- and water-damaged house into smaller pieces such as ‘open the windows’, ‘wipe down the kitchen’ and ‘phone the insurance company’
- Switch off: You’re allowed to take a break – you’ve been through a lot after all and having some downtime is important for your mental well being. Turning off the TV and closing social media also helps disconnect you from some of the disaster which may still be happening.
- Talk to someone when you feel ready: Try not to bottle up emotions and talk to others when you feel ready. It’s a great way to begin to ask for support. You can start with close family or friends, or visit your GP who can help you make sense of your thoughts and feelings.
- For further support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
To find your nearest Ramsay Pharmacy click here.