NSWHealth has arranged for pharmacies to issue certain medicines withoutprescription and distribute free face masks to assist communities hit bybushfires.
Thethree-day supply of prescription medicines that can be issued in emergencies hasbeen extended to allow community pharmacists to supply larger quantities ofmost prescription-only medicines to patients without a prescription.
NSWChief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said those in a bushfire-affected areawho don’t have access to their medicine or prescription, can call their GP andask them to send a prescription to a nearby pharmacist.
“If you can’t contact your GP, you can go to alocal pharmacy to get an emergency supply of most medicines without aprescription. Only certain medicines, such as benzodiazepines and opioids, willstill require a prescription,” Dr Chant said.
“Communities can also be assured that pharmacistsare continuing to supply most medicines to carers on behalf of a patient, includinginhalers used to treat asthma.”
These special arrangements for the emergency supplyof medicines to patients in areas affected by the NSW bushfires are in placeuntil 31 March 2020.
NSW Health is also supplying free disposable P2/N95face masks to communities via pharmacies in bushfire-affected local healthdistricts. Community members are advised to ring ahead to ensure stock isavailable.
Free face masks are also available in evacuationcentres and health facilities.
P2 masks are not suitable for everyone and not recommended for generaluse. People with pre-existing heart and lung conditions should consult theirdoctor before using P2 masks.
Dr Chant said the masks can be useful for people who have to workoutside in very smoky conditions, or when returning to bush fire affectedproperties.
“For these masks to be effective, it’s importantthey are fitted according to the manufacturer’s instructions and form a tightseal around the face,” Dr Chant said.
“The best way to protect yourself from bushfire smoke and poor airquality is to reduce your exposure by staying indoors with windows and doorsclosed, and to avoid outdoor exercise.”
For more information and a full list of locationsproviding P2 masks, visit: health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/face-mask.aspx.