If you have asthma you may be used to walking in to a pharmacy and asking the Pharmacist for a Ventolin or Asmol puffer to treat asthma symptoms. Did you know that as of March 2020 it is not so easy to obtain a puffer from a pharmacy?
Ventolin/Asmol regulation changes
These puffers can now only be supplied to people who can show evidence of being diagnosed with a lung condition such as asthma or COPD or previous recorded supply of this medicine. Only one puffer can be supplied at a time unless it is on prescription.
What evidence can be given to show that a lung condition has been diagnosed?
- Letter from your Doctor stating that Ventolin or Asmol is needed to treat a lung condition
- Asthma management plan from you Doctor
- Previous history in the pharmacy’s computing program showing that asthma medicines have been prescribed
- Previous supply history shown in My Health Record
- Asthma medicine showing the label confirming that it is for that person, a photo of this medicine is also suitable
Why were asthma medicine regulations changed?
At the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic there was much panic buying. These asthma medicines were in as much demand as toilet paper. In order to control the supply of these medicines legislation was changed to limit the supply to one puffer and only with evidence of asthma or COPD diagnosis. These puffers must also now be labelled through the computer program which also records the supply of the item.
My QuitBuddy app
Between January and May this year the My QuitBuddy app had an increase in downloads of 310%! This means it was downloaded 24000 times! Unless there was a shortage in cigarettes (which I didn’t hear about) during the height of COVID 19 hopefully the app downloads led to more people quitting smoking. Especially in times of isolation using an app such as this lets you know you are not alone and can be a source of great help in quitting.
Smoking and COVID 19
Smokers are more likely to have severe symptoms if they contract COVID 19 than those who don’t smoke. Smokers are more likely to have cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, diabetes and other health conditions that may make them more likely to have a worse outcome if they have COVID 19. There isn’t evidence to say they are more likely to contract it though no doubt the virus scared some of those who smoke into quitting.
This is hard! It is acknowledged that quitting smoking is very difficult. Pharmacists and Doctors are able to help with knowledge and advice about products that may be right for you. Everyone is different and so different products and ways of quitting are appropriate for different people. Patches, lozenges, chewing gum, mouth spray etc are available to help you wean off cigarettes and nicotine. I also know people who have quit through hypnosis. If you are wanting to quit enlist the support of your Doctor, Pharmacist, family and friends, purchase a product if you would like to use it to quit, down load an app such as My QuitBuddy to give you all the help you can get and make a date to quit!