February is American Heart Month
February 1 marks the start of American Heart Month, and pharmacies nationwide are gearing up for this opportunity to educate their customers about heart health. Chances are customers know someone with heart disease, or who has suffered a heart attack or stroke. Pharmacies hold a vital role in helping customers access information that could one day save their lives. With more Americans overweight than ever, the time is now to teach about heart health, offer resources, and network with your communities.
Oftentimes, customers may not know what the signs of a heart attack entail. The signs of an impending heart attack vary from men to women. Pointing out this difference and making it visible to clients through either a website, video, or printed material is an important way that your pharmacy can help educate customers during American Heart Month. Offering tips on changing lifestyle habits for a healthy heart is another way to get involved. Pharmacies can reach out to local grocery stores and get recipes or brochures for healthier cooking tips to pass on to customers. Be sure to stay aware of any changes to a client’s prescriptions, and always check to be sure that a customer’s medicines will not interact with their diet adversely.
What are some other ways to raise awareness for American Heart Month?
Have your pharmacy partner with Million Hearts. Millions Hearts is a national program sponsored by the CDC and the Department of Human Services that, “Aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the US over the next five years.” Million Hearts offers media kits that can be distributed to your customers and your staff as well.
Stock the products your customers need to get heart healthy.
Helping clients access tools they need to lead a heart healthy lifestyle is also crucial. Be sure to stock blood pressure monitoring kits, smoking cessation products such as nicotine gum and patches, and low dose aspirin for clients on an aspirin regime. Educating staff on where the products are located in case a customer is looking for them is also important. Discuss with your team some common questions customers have about beginning a heart healthy lifestyle program, and always be ready to address cares or concerns in a prompt and professional manner.
Be sure to print literature alerting your customers to American Heart Month and the risks of heart disease. Many websites have media kits and press tools that you can use to create brochures or flyers. Highlight the common ways to reduce coronary artery disease, blood pressure, and be sure to list the signs of an impending stroke if your pharmacy chooses instead to create its own media to distribute to customers.
Starting off right with American Heart Month sets the tone for health and wellness in 2013. Following these simple steps and putting them into practice in your community, and at your pharmacy will help your patients lead a heart healthy lifestyle all 365 days of the year.