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Health and Wellness Advice

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Bushfires, flooding and your medicines


Thumbnail for Bushfires, flooding and your medicines

It is coming to the time of the year when bushfire season and flooding is upon us. For many of our customers who live in high-risk areas, we urge you to prepare for this time especially if you take prescription medicines.

As any shortage or discontinuation may be life threatening, such as heart medicines (warfarin and blood pressure related), asthma puffers, anti-epileptic medications and insulin for diabetes to name a few. If you are on a prescription medicine, then we recommend you to have an adequate supply.

How to prepare for bushfires when taking prescription medications:

1. Prepare, plan and more planning

We have some key tips to be prepared during this time as natural disasters often occur without warning.  There are many ways to ensure you and your loved ones are well prepared in an event of a bushfire, flood or any other natural disaster. :

 

2. Know what you are taking

For medicines, have a list of the medicines you take, which includes the name of the medicine (brand name and pharmaceutical name eg Metformin/diaformin), what the medicine is for (diabetes), strength (eg 500mg), the dose you take (1 tablet once daily etc) and how much of this medication you usually have (eg a box of 60 tablets). We can easily help with this or you can download the NPS MedicineWise app for Android or Apple on your mobile device.

 

3. Keep your supply of medications in one area if you can

Keep your regular medicines in a large lunch box or container so if the need arises, you can quickly grab it and go. Make sure that inside your box, you have a photocopy of your Medicare card, doctor details, concession/healthcare card details, medicine list and pharmacy contact (or have copies on your mobile phone).

 

4. Refrigerated medicines need to be kept cold

There are some medicines that are required to be stored between 2 -8 degrees Celsius:

  • insulin
  • levothyroxine*
  • immune therapies such as adalimumab, etanercept etc
  • some eye drops such as xalatan.
  • some hormone-based medicines
  • some antibiotic medicines for children
  • vaccines

Remember, if your refrigerated medicines have been unrefrigerated for a while, then they should be discarded and replaced with a new refrigerated supply.   However, there are some exceptions to this rule for medicines such as insulin which according to the NDIS (National Diabetes Services Scheme) can be kept below 25 degrees (celcius) for up to 28 days.

 

*Levothyrxine (eutroxsig and oroxine) may be kept below 25 degrees for up to 4 weeks as stated by the manufacturer but this may affect the potency of the medicine (see https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/changes-to-the-shelf-life-of-thyroxine) . It is worth noting that there are also non-refrigerated formulations of levothyroxine available on prescription which can be brought from us with a prescription, but please discuss with your doctor first.

 

5. What if you do not have any medicines or prescriptions?

There are several legal provisions which allow for the emergency supply of prescription medicines and these may vary from state to state.

 

6. What If you don't have a prescription? 

Please contact your doctor and get them to send a new prescription to your nearest pharmacy.  If you do not have a local pharmacy, we can to accept digital prescriptions and faxed prescriptions from your doctor. Once received, we can send out your medications via Australia post.

 

What if you don't have a prescription and you cannot contact your doctor. 

There are 2 options

1) Telehealth: you can contact your doctor through a telehealth service and get a prescription sent to us at info@towers.net.au

2)  Your pharmacist can supply you with a 3-day emergency supply of your essential medications.

 

7. Have sufficient medications if you have respiratory disease

If you have any respiratory conditions, ensure you have enough supply of these medications as changes in air quality and stress can exacerbate these conditions (such is the case in asthma).  For example, if you have asthma then make sure you have sufficient relievers inhalers (salbutamol inhaler - ventolin/asmol/bricanyl/airimol) and at least one preventer on hand. For COPD patients (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), ensure you have your inhalers, and your nebuliser on hand.

 

If you have any questions of the above please feel free to leave us a message

Posted at 18 December 20