October 31, 2013

Check your lungs when you visit the pharmacy

Lung Foundation Australia has teamed up with Healthpoint to make it easy for people to do a simple lung health checklist when they visit their local pharmacy.

Using touchscreen units and iPads located at more than 700 pharmacies around Australia, people can fill out a simple yes/no questionnaire about risk factors and symptoms to identify any potential concerns with their lung health.

Lung Foundation Australia Director of the COPD National Program, Elizabeth Harper, said after completing the lung health checklist, people could then talk with the pharmacist about their results.

“It is important to have these programs available in the community where people can access them independently,” Ms Harper said.

“Symptoms of lung disease often creep up on people and they may attribute things like breathlessness to getting older,” she said.

“Lung disease doesn’t discriminate – it affects men and women, young and old, smokers, ex-smokers and people who have never smoked.

“Climbing a couple of flights of stairs shouldn’t feel like you’ve climbed Mt Everest but, sadly, for many people it does.”

November is Lung Health Awareness Month and Lung Foundation Australia in partnership with Healthpoint is urging people to do the lung health checklist and find out about how they can look after their lungs.

Healthpoint General Manager, Craig Simmonds, said one of the great strengths of the partnership was making the lung health checklist available in pharmacies where people can complete the checklist on their own.

“They can also ask the pharmacist for a lung function screening test which will help them identify if they should speak with their GP,” Mr Simmonds said.

“Early diagnosis can open up different treatment options and help people to better manage their condition,” he said.

“The Healthpoint system also has fact sheets on COPD and other lung diseases for patients and members of the general community.”

Throughout November there will be lung health awareness activities taking place around the country including:

  • Mesothelioma awareness displays with morning tea
  • World COPD Day activities
    • Catch Your Breath COPD Community Walks
    • FREE lung screening in the community setting
    • Awareness campaign/s in partnership with GPs, Medicare Locals and community pharmacy
    • Information stands in public places