This page contains useful information, advice, and news on the current coronavirus pandemic. It will be updated regularly with the latest medical and governmental advice as it happens.
The Independent Pharmacy’s Malaria prevention page was the fourth most visited page on its website in March, likely due to rumours circulating that a supposed COVID-19 cure was available based on existing malaria treatments.
On the 21st March 2020, US President Donald Trump announced that a cure for COVID-19 will be ready soon, based on an existing treatment for malaria, hydroxychloroquine.
On the 24th March, an American man died and his wife fell critically ill after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, a toxic fish tank cleaning chemical that contains a form of hydroxychloroquine.
The Independent Pharmacy’s director and co-founder, Scott McDougall, said: “Due to various comments in the media, we have seen an increase in visits to malaria treatment pages, which is worrying. This treatment is only licensed for the prevention of malaria and currently, there is no clinical backed evidence to suggest that is effective in treating COVID-19.”
COVID-19 is a new and highly contagious disease. It is part of the coronavirus family of viruses. These usually cause diseases in animals, but seven viruses, including COVID-19, have changed and can now infect humans too.
Other coronaviruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
COVID-19 is thought to have originated in an animal market in Wuhan, China. The virus mainly spreads through droplets of saliva or nasal mucus when someone sneezes or coughs.
When these droplets land on surfaces, they can be picked up and transferred to someone else when they touch their hands, nose, mouth or eyes.
Consequently, it’s important that people protect themselves by washing their hands regularly and frequently with soap and hot water, or with hand sanitiser.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu. According to the NHS, common symptoms include:
Mild symptoms of coronavirus include:
Rare symptoms of the virus include:
If you or a loved one experiences a high temperature or a new, persistent cough, self-isolate immediately. Do not visit your GP, pharmacy, or hospital. Remain indoors and contact NHS 111 to be told how to proceed.
The period of time it takes for coronavirus symptoms to appear after actually contracting the virus is known as the “incubation period”. While it is not known for certain, most estimates range from 1-14 days for symptoms to appear. However, the most common cases feature an incubation period of around five days.
It should be noted that not everyone who contracts COVID-19 displays symptoms.
Current governmental advice on coronavirus prevention is that the general public should remain indoors, only leaving the house for the following reasons:
Whenever you leave the house, you must practise social distancing. This means ensuring you are at least two metres apart from anyone who you do not already live with.
The government also advises wearing face coverings if you are in an enclosed space for a short period of time, such as when using public transport or in some shops. Face coverings can reduce the spread of coronavirus in these instances. Learn how to make your own face coverings here.
Official coronavirus advice also recommends washing your hands regularly and frequently with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. This is roughly as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” out loud twice.
Wash your hands as soon as you get home after being outside.
Always cough or sneeze into a tissue, covering your mouth and nose as you do so. Dispose of the tissue immediately afterward and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow crease instead.
If your hands are not clean, do not touch your face.
Coronavirus can survive on different surfaces for different amounts of time.
While it is not known for sure exactly how long COVID-19 can live on surfaces, studies suggest that they can survive anywhere between a few hours to several days. This time can vary depending on the type of surface, temperature, humidity, and so on.
It is therefore recommended that you clean any potentially contaminated surfaces with a disinfectant. After cleaning a surface, do not touch your face and wash your hands with hot, soapy water or hand sanitiser.
The Independent Pharmacy is a trusted online supplier of essential medicines, regulated and secured by a number of official bodies. These include:
We remain committed of ensuring our customers receive the medication they need, and we are still taking orders as usual.
With the rapidly unfolding changes and uncertainty caused by the current coronavirus pandemic, The Independent Pharmacy team is working exceptionally hard to cope with the extremely large demand that is being placed on our services at this challenging time.
We use a number of established supply networks to ensure our stock remains topped up wherever possible. This also means all our medicines are safe and genuine, ensuring our customers’ safety throughout the supply chain.
Currently, all orders are being dispatched to meet the expected delivery times given in the checkout. However, these are not guaranteed dates and due to the incredible strain on the postal system, your parcel may experience delays in reaching you. You will receive tracking details by email and in your online account as soon as your order is dispatched and you will be able to follow the progress of your delivery with your courier of choice.
If you are currently self-isolating, you are able to add this to the delivery notes section in the checkout and all couriers will be doing their best to deliver your parcel in a manner that is safe for all parties.
Royal Mail have currently suspended their Next Day Guaranteed before 1pm option. As such, we have removed this as a delivery option for the foreseeable future.
Royal Mail coronavirus advice states that it is still delivering during the lockdown, albeit with longer waiting times for packages. The World Health Organisation has advised that the probability of an infected person spreading the virus via post is low. The risk of catching COVID-19 from a package is also low.
Consequently, it may take longer than usual for your medicines to arrive. We therefore recommend you order in advance to avoid delays. We also ask our customers to order only what is essential to ensure all our patients can get the medication they need.
Summary: We are currently dispatching all orders in time to be delivered on the dates estimated in the checkout, however due to the strain placed on the postal system orders may take slightly longer than usual to reach you.
Due to the exponential increase in orders on our website, our customer service team is now operating on a skeleton crew to ensure as many people get the medication that they need in a timely manner. As such, we will be unable to take telephone calls from Tuesday 24th March. If you require help or medical advice from our customer service team, please contact us by email and we will do our best to respond within our normal four working hour window.
For more urgent healthcare needs, please contact 111 in a non-urgent situation or 999 in an emergency.
Summary: Our customer service team is currently unable to accept telephone calls to keep our service as efficient as possible and ensure orders are dispatched on time.
The massive increase in demand on healthcare services during the pandemic has caused some volatility in stock availability and pricing. We are reviewing our stock availability daily to try and ensure that the stock reflected on our website is as accurate as possible.
Summary: We are doing our best to keep as many products available and our prices as low as possible.
For those who are self-isolating at home, paracetamol is the main form of pain relief from the symptoms of COVID-19. It is also a common household medication.
Consequently, people are buying paracetamol in bulk. This means stocks throughout the UK in pharmacies or general stores are often low or non-existent. However, the government is taking measures to increase supply and build up stockpiles of paracetamol within the UK.
While national stocks of paracetamol are low, you can buy paracetamol from The Independent Pharmacy here, while stocks last.
It is not known for definite how long coronavirus can survive on surfaces. Estimates range from 1-2 hours to several days, and this can vary depending on the type of surface involved, the temperature of the surface, the humidity of the environment, and other factors.
If you think a surface has been contaminated with the coronavirus, clean it thoroughly with a disinfectant. Do not touch your face while doing so, and always wash your hands afterward with hand sanitiser or hot water and soap.
It is not known for definite how long it takes for symptoms of the coronavirus to appear. This period is known as the “incubation period”, and estimates generally range between 1-14 days. However, the most common instances of incubation are around five days.
However, not everyone who catches COVID-19 displays symptoms, or they may only display very mild symptoms.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one has contracted coronavirus, it is possible to purchase a self-testing kit online. These are finger-prick kits that test your blood for coronavirus antibodies.
The test will determine whether or not you have already had the virus and if you have become slightly immune to it too.
Statistics show that cases of coronavirus continue to be reported around the world. You can find the latest COVID-19 statistics from the World Health Organisation here.
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