Pharmacies across the county have run out of hand sanitisers and face masks as the coronavirus spreads and so does the panic.
The first case of the Covid-19 virus on the island of Ireland has been confirmed with a woman in Belfast contracting the illness after recently travelling back to Ireland from Italy.
LaoisToday spoke to Peter McElwee of McElwee TotalHealth Pharmacy in Mountmellick on the matter.
Peter said: “There’s been back orders into next week, wipes are still available but hand sanitisers and masks have completely sold out.”
Peter said that demand for such items began when the news of the virus had spread to Italy, panic started once the virus hit Europe.
Peter explained that while nobody has come to the pharmacy with symptoms there are guidelines to follow if somebody does.
He explained that the person would have to follow the HSE guidelines that are available online and that they should self-isolate.
They can ring their GP if they are concerned but should not enter their GPs office for fear of contamination.
LaoisToday also spoke with Elaine Clarke of Clarke’s CarePlus Pharmacy in Rathdowney.
Elaine said: “We have managed to keep a supply of face masks and have ordered masks of a higher grade.”
Elaine has since received an order for hand sanitisers but has noticed a huge shortage.
“There is a massive shortage in hand sanitiser, we have people in everyday looking for hand sanitiser for themselves and for their children in schools.
“Bigger companies and institutions are buying up all the stock of masks and hand sanitisers available.”
According to the HSE guidelines hand sanitiser is advised to be used by everyone.
LaoisToday also spoke to Hughes Pharmacy on Main Street in Portlaoise and to Adrian Dunne Pharmacy in Portarlington, both of whom have experienced a similar shortage of these items, similar to their colleagues all over the country.
Heywood Community School have cancelled a school tour to Italy because of the outbreak of the illness.
The HSE advises anyone who knows they have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days and has symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever) should:
- Isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room, with a phone.
- Phone their GP, or emergency department – if this is not possible, phone 112, or 999
- In a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999
To protect yourself from the virus:
- Wash your hands properly and regularly
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
- Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs.