Health + Wellness

Watsons Shapes The Future Of Allergy Care

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Watsons recently announced the launch of its new pharmacy services targeting allergic conditions.

At this point in time, such services are not available at any community pharmacies, making Watsons the first in the industry to offer a more comprehensive care for individuals suffering from allergic conditions here in Singapore. This is in response to a worldwide trend of higher allergy cases, as well as the company’s own study of Singapore’s allergy healthcare statistics.

“This is the first of Watsons’ new initiatives in pharmacy healthcare. We have reformatted 38 Watsons pharmacies to offer Allergy Care Services, of which 15 have specially designed Allergy Relief Bays allowing customers quick access to allergy medication and consultation”, said Mr Dominic Wong, Chief Operating Officer of Watsons Singapore.

The Allergy Relief Bays will have digital screens with demonstration videos on how to use the nasal sprays, and also information about other allergic rhinitis symptoms that customers may normally dismiss, such as sore throats and dry coughs. “We will also work together with Fullerton Healthcare, a leading provider of corporate healthcare solutions. Watsons will refer more complicated cases to Ear Nose and Throat (ENT), and Dermatology specialists at Fullerton so that patient care is complete,” added Mr Wong.

Allergic conditions last for a lifetime and require long-term management to remain symptom-free. In allergic rhinitis, symptoms of sneezing, runny and blocked nose are often triggered by allergens such as dust mites and pollen. While the avoidance of allergens is key in preventing the onset of symptoms, over-the-counter oral medicines can be obtained at pharmacies to relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis when they are triggered.

For individuals suffering from persistent or moderate-to-severe symptoms, first-line treatment should involve the use of steroid nasal sprays, or intranasal corticosteroid sprays. However, adherence to this first-line treatment for at least two weeks is required for maximal efficacy. In a separate study jointly conducted by Watsons and the National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of Pharmacy from September to December 2014, only 45% of individuals with symptoms indicative of moderate-severe allergic rhinitis who frequent community pharmacy were found to be using intranasal corticosteroid sprays. Among the study respondents who remembered being instructed to use such sprays on a daily basis, 95% reported being non-adherent to the instructions.

 

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