This May, we celebrate Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and with it we’d like to offer some tips and tricks to get your pharmacy and medical team members active in your communities. Raising awareness for these common and critical issues is more crucial than ever. May is also Celiac Awareness Month, which does indeed fall into the category of allergy awareness. Being vigilant about offering products, suggestions, and education to customers about asthma, treating asthma, living with a food allergy or environmental allergy, and how to raise awareness of these issues are just some way to give back to the area that your pharmacy is based in.
Events are a great way for pharmacies to network with other medical providers in the area, local television and radio outlets, and even students interested in the health and medical fields. Not only do these events offer potential press coverage for your pharmacy, but they open dialogue between professionals and customers living with asthma and a food allergy. Offering allergen free foods, a cooking demonstration on how to prevent cross contamination, or a book signing by an allergy-friendly cookbook author is another useful asset to any allergy and asthma awareness event held this May. Offering pulmonary screenings, an allergy checklist, or another type of survey can also be useful. Offering literature identifying common asthma triggers such as smoke or improper ventilation, or food allergens from exposure to gluten, soy, nuts, dairy, and shellfish can be helpful. Often, patients will not recognize symptoms of asthma or an allergy/food sensitivity, believing it to be common pollen allergies or an upset stomach. Press kits and further reading can be helpful in aiding customers in scheduling follow up appointments with their primary care physician if necessary.
Recruiting local sponsors to help with an allergy or asthma awareness event is also helpful. More and more local food vendors are cooking without gluten, and ship nationwide. Many grocers offer a gluten free food section, and there are ways of eating that eliminate soy, dairy, wheat, legumes, and more. Offering information into these eating plans, along with a grocery list or coupons from a local grocer or baker is a way to get the community involved. Having tables where gluten free or allergen aware chefs and bakers can market their goods is a wonderful first step toward raising awareness of not only celiac disease, but other common food allergies such as those to shellfish.
Finding businesses in your community to tell their story is key. Keeping connections local and making sure to have staff on hand to answer questions and field customer inquiries is important to the success of any event. How has your pharmacy addressed asthma and allergy awareness even when it is not May? What are some things that you have found helpful to draw customer’s attention to a healthier lifestyle or easier breathing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.