Endemic does not mean it is ending

Working in healthcare over the last three years has been a harrowing experience. Whether is be frontline health workers working triple shifts to care for the upswing of people in ICU beds, or even just humble pharmacists who get to sit in a building where hundreds of sick people swing by every day. Now, we aren’t in the same place we were in 2020. We have vaccines available that have minimised the impact of COVID on most people. I got it in the months after I was triple vaccinated, and was really lucky. I had a day or two of symptoms and then spent a few days pottering around at home reorganising my bookshelf. I have family members ten years my junior who were not vaccinated and spent two weeks in ICU.

I’ve noticed that the general rhetoric around COVID is that it is old news. In reality, at time of writing, the fatality rate in Australia has never been so high (except for one anomalous day in January). COVID isn’t finished here. We just seem to be finished with COVID. You will hear people saying that COVID is, or will become, endemic. And it is very easy to hear the word ‘end’ in there and assume the best. But endemic means that it is going to stick around and we are going to have to learn to live with it. So today, I thought I would track you through a few items that can be sourced from a discount pharmacy that will help you live with COVID - the alternative has been all too real for millions of people around the world.

Masks - I’ve never quite understood the moral panic behind the wearing of a mask. Some people take it as either the most abusive form of government oppression known to man. Well, my parents came from a country where government oppression meant a swift knock on the door at night followed by a ‘lengthy absence’. A mask isn’t so bad. The other complaint is that they don’t work. Well, again, this isn’t supported by science. Bill Nye, a celebrity scientist, took to TikTok to dispel these myths. He lit a candle, and blew it out without a mask. No surprises. It went out straight away. He then put on a cloth mask and after a prolonged effort, he managed to blow it out. With an N95 equivalent mask, he could blow until he was blue in the face, but he couldn’t put out that little flame. This gives you a powerful image of how a mask prevents particles from an infected person’s respiratory system from getting into yours. If you’re into numbers, two unmasked people would exchange the virus within 15 minutes of being in the same room. In contrast, two people wearing P95s could sit in the room for 25 hours before they would contract the virus. This isn’t an ideological position, it is simply a scientific fact. Masks work, and you can pick up those super effective P95s from a discount pharmacy like this one right here! 

Hand Sanitiser - Oh to have bought stocks in Dettol in 2018… Hand sanitiser is one of the more effective ways to ward off COVID. It is slightly less effective than washing your hands with soap and water, but when you’re on a bus, holding a railing with someone who has coughed and sneezed their way to work, washing your hands at the sink isn’t a viable option. Hand sanitizer works beautifully because it can live in your pocket. They work by coating your hands in an antiseptic that kills microorganism or viruses like COVID. Be on the lookout though. Some hand sanitisers are basically just a scented carrier oil. The thing that does the heavy lifting is the alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl alcohol). If you aren’t in and around the ballpark of 75 to 80%, keep looking for something that will actually keep you safe. All of the products available in our discount pharmacy are clinically proven to be effective in protecting you against COVID. Oh, it should go without saying, but only use as directed. Injecting or ingesting hand sanitiser is unlikely to do anything but kill you.

RAT tests - This is actually a bit of a tautology, given that the T is RAT test stands for test - it is like an ATM machine. Anyway, I digress. RATs use a chemical process to detect a particular protein found in the virus known as an antigen. The sample collected from your nose and throat is dropped onto a paper to see how reacts to the solution. One line, you’re feeling fine. Two and you’re in the… isolation period. Now, a RAT is not 100% accurate. That means if you feel dreadful but you’re returning negative RATs, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have COVID. You should go and get a PCR test which is about as definitive as you could hope for. I really like having a little stockpile of RAT tests. It gives me peace of mind if I was about to head out and visit a newborn baby, or someone who needs to fly internationally next week. I ruin enough people’s days with tacky puns, I don’t need to add something else to that list.

Disinfectant - This is an oft forgotten hero in the fight against COVID. If you are a business owner, you will know just how crucial this is. Imagine this as the inverse of hand sanitizer. Where hand sanitiser protects your hands from a potentially dangerous world, disinfectant protects your world from potentially dangerous hands. If you clean your handrails and tables with disinfectant, you are wiping the slate clean for the next person who comes into your space.

As I said in the beginning, endemic doesn’t mean it is ending. It means we need to live with it. And your good hygiene and etiquette  can help as many people as possible to live with it rather than die from it. It is ‘love thy neighbour’ in action.

All the best,

Floyd - Senior Pharmacist


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