May 14, 2018
Inside: Don’t let pesky mosquitoes ruin your patients’ summer. Show them how your independent community pharmacy can help them prevent and treat mosquito bites.
This year’s warm weather has brought more than sunshine and rainbows.
It’s opened the gates for everyone’s least favorite pest: mosquitoes.
“Widespread and difficult to control, diseases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites are major causes of sickness and death worldwide,” the CDC said in the report. “The growing number and spread of these diseases pose an increasing risk in the U.S.”
Humans are like walking glasses of sweet, chilled lemonade mosquitoes can’t resist gulping down. They’re attracted to the carbon dioxide flowing out of our mouths, so it’s almost impossible to keep them away.
Pesky mosquito bites might not feel like much. They’re one of the most common summer ailments. But they can pack a serious punch. Any bite could transfer life-threatening illnesses like Zika, West Nile, and dengue fever.
Mosquito bites can be especially dangerous to pregnant patients and those with weak immune systems. The latest viral scare, Zika, has quickly spread across the globe, landing will full force in the U.S.
Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe brain defects. It’s also linked to other problems, such as miscarriage and stillbirth.
Protect your patients from mosquito bites this season. And make money doing it by selling helpful front-end products as well as prescription medication.
Use these effective ways to help your patients prevent and treat mosquito bites.
Prescription repellent is the most effective way for patients to prevent mosquito bites.
But many patients don’t realize prescription repellent exists.
Your community pharmacy has special relationships with patients. They talk to you about their summer plans. And you likely know if they’re traveling abroad or if they’re avid campers.
So, let your patients know about the severity of this season and how prescription repellent can protect them.
Even if you tell them, patients may not think getting a prescription is worth the cost or inconvenience. Especially if they don’t understand the dangerous risks of mosquito bites.
Explain the dangers of mosquito bites to your patients. Make sure patients understand that mosquito bites have tripled since 2004 and carry life-threating and debilitating viruses.
In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Medicaid benefits to pay for prescription repellents to protect pregnant women from Zika.
Find out if patients are covered in your state. If they are, tell them the good news.
And, make sure your pregnant patients know about the risks of Zika.
Insect repellent isn’t the most fascinating subject. You can bet your patients aren’t surfing the web to learn all about it.
More likely, they walk into your pharmacy, stare blankly at all the options, and eventually snatch a random one off the shelf.
As a health expert including in over-the-counter (OTC) products, don’t stay behind the counter. When patients come into your pharmacy looking for bug repellent, help them understand the basics. And make a product recommendation.
When you educate them on the risks of bites and suggest a good product, they’ll be more likely to buy the repellent. And to come back for their next over-the-counter need.
Although repellent is the best way to prevent mosquito bites, patients can take other preventative measures too.
Educating patients on alternative ways to prevent mosquito bites will help you gain their trust. Talk to them about it. Post signs in your pharmacy. And share ideas on social media.
End caps are the best place for seasonal items that most people need or want.
For those who want mosquito prevention products, end caps make them easy to find. For those who haven’t thought about it, end caps remind them of their need.
“The bigger the display, the greater the sales. If you have the space and inventory, create an end cap in a prominent location,” said Gabe Trahan, Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing at the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), in the May 14 edition of Profit Makers, an email with front-end tips for pharmacies.
Be prepared for the products to move quickly. Trahan recommends having at least three months of product on hand.
Besides prevention products like repellent and citronella candles, also include OTC products that can help.
Most mosquito-borne viruses can’t be treated by medicine. But acetaminophen can help with the side effects, like fevers. And, you can relieve discomfort by supplying moisturizing and anti-itch products, such as aloe vera and hydrocortisone cream.
Booths serve several functions to help your patients and your business.
They simultaneously provide education and marketing. And they build up your community image.
Sponsor a mosquito safety booth at an outdoor event in your town, like 5ks, health fairs, and festivals. At the booth, you can hand out free mosquito repellent and educational materials.
You can also gain valuable marketing data by asking people for their email address to win additional giveaways.
Help your patients enjoy the sunshine by preventing and treating mosquito bites at your pharmacy.
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