Advice for pharmacists and pharmacy assistants

Parents will often seek advice in pharmacy, particularly when it concerns their children. Our aim is to provide advice and tips that will give you confidence and accurate knowledge when communicating with customers about childrens multivitamins.

Giving advice to parents about children's multivitamins

Welcome to the Children’s Multivitamin pharmacy training module from Boston Healthcare Limited. This Children’s Multivitamin section will provide you with useful information on essential vitamins and allergies, the benefits on giving a vitamin to babies, infants and children and the latest guidelines.

It will focus on customers, those people you meet every day. As a pharmacy you are positioned well to take ownership of this key OTC category and give your customers the best in customer care when choosing the right multivitamin for babies, infants and children.

Remember your customers rely on you for meaningful advice something they cannot gain outside of pharmacy when shopping for OTC brands - we want to make you confident to help them and this module will take you there.

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Advice in pharmacy... The role you play.

As a pharmacist or a pharmacy assistant you have opportunities every day to interface with your customers and provide informed advice and choice – the opportunity to make a difference.

Not every time will a customer ask for advice – they may spend time choosing a product a signal that they are unsure or is it the “right product for me or a member of the family” – this is your opportunity to intervene.

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The importance of choosing the right baby, infant and children’s Multivitamin.

Vitamins are essential for good health and, in children they play an important role in assisting normal growth and development. Issues that mothers may have is which multivitamin or vitamin would be the right one for my child is a question that many will ask, and pharmacy is the centre of information and guidance that plays an essential role in providing this guidance.

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What are the main causes of vitamin deficiency?

Normally the necessary vitamins would be provided through a healthy balanced and varied diet, however should any of the essential vitamins be absent from the food for a long period of time, poor growth or certain deficiency diseases may occur, therefore providing the right guidance and advice will play a necessary part in the choice made.

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Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is now high on the agenda as the once eradicated disease rickets has returned to the UK, as stated by Dame Sally Davies England’s Chief Medical Officer “Vitamin D deficiency is not just about poverty”, but includes children with developmental issues due to being born prematurely, those from ethnic minorities as well as children being “covered up” to protect them from the sun, thereby missing out on the benefits it provides.

Children can become deficient in Vitamin D if they do not absorb enough from food, or their exposure to sunlight is limited. In children vitamin D deficiency can in some cases result in the disease known as rickets, where the bones become soft and bend. Although still a rare disease it still can occur today through vitamin D deficiency.

It is claimed that potentially up to 25% of children in the UK are vitamin D deficient, which can directly be related to the increase in the disease known as rickets.

As part of a healthy diet the use of vitamin D or a multivitamin containing vitamin D will help provide the additional boost that children require.

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The ‘need to know’ about allergies

Peanut allergy is becoming ever more commonplace, with recent studies showing that the rate of peanut allergy has doubled over a five year period both here in Europe and the United States. Peanut allergy is estimated to affect 1 in 50 young infants.

The last 40 years have seen a dramatic rise in allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema and hay fever, particularly in the western world, with peanut allergy being one of the most common in the UK.

Food allergies are amongst the most common in children who come from families where other members suffer from an allergy. Babies with eczema are particularly at risk of having some form of food allergy.

A food allergy occurs when the immune system becomes confused – instead of ignoring harmless food proteins, its triggers a reaction, which leads to the release of a chemical called histamine. It is histamine which causes the classic allergy symptoms of hives and swelling. A more serious reaction is anaphylaxis and this may be life threatening.

Some of the most common symptoms of an immediate food allergy are:
•   Nausea, vomiting, tummy cramps and diarrhoea.
•   A runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes.
•   Mild swelling, particularly of the lips, eyes and face.
•   A flushed face, hives, a red itchy rash.

There are also what are termed as delayed allergies, which in infants may cause chronic symptoms such as eczema, reflux, colic, poor growth, frequent distressing crying, diarrhoea or even constipation.

Children with a food allergy are also at risk of missing out on the essential nutrients that they would otherwise get.

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Now, your role.

Customers trust the advice of pharmacy and your knowledge of symptoms and problems they or the family may have. It is well known that new mums will often seek advice from pharmacy on babies and an infant, making your pharmacy the centre for advice and knowledge on what is best for them.

This is your opportunity to intervene with a Pharmacy only brand.

The facts

Vitamins are an important category within pharmacy and providing advice and support where you have the opportunity to gain ground over your grocery competitors. With DaliVit you have a well proven and trusted brand that can only be purchased through you making every sale a pharmacy sale.

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How do you engage with your customers on the subject of Children’s Multivitamins?

Simple techniques are using both “open” and “closed” questions. Using a closed question will get you a brief and mostly specific response, “Do you purchase children’s multivitamins”. This type of question will always limit the response and the conversation.

By using an open question such as “what is important to you when choosing a multivitamin for your baby or infant” will provide a more detailed response and allow you to engage fully with the customer, or a simple “Do you have any allergies in the family”, this will often give a response of “why do you ask”, you now have engaged with the customer. Let the sale commence. Both questions have their place in starting the process, but open will give you a deeper insight.

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So where does DaliVit sit in the Children’s Multivitamin category.

With its 40 year heritage in the baby, infant and children’s multivitamin market and its Pharmacy only point of sale it can and will provide a part of the market that only pharmacy can own.

Boston Healthcare are committed to support Pharmacy through a series of ongoing training modules designed to provide you and your staff with the market and product knowledge that will provide confidence in providing an informed and professional choice for your customers.

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