AnnaMarie Houlis
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What is National Pharmacist Day, what's the history of it and how is it recognized? Here's everything you need to know!

What is National Pharmacist Day?

National Pharmacist Day is a day to recognize and pay respect to our pharmacists who take care of those in need.

"Children can get up to 12 colds a year, while adults average two to four," according to National Today. "Where would we be without our pharmacists? It’s time to thank those friendly workers who keep us healthy throughout the year. Get ready to celebrate National Pharmacist Day on January 12. The day focuses on the importance of pharmacists, and it honors how much they impact our health and well-being. The #APharmacistIs campaign, launched just two years ago, links both photos (and words of thanks) to those who help us with our meds and so much more."

There are approximately 316,500 pharmacists in the United States as of 2016, according to National Today. Plus, the profession continues to grow. It's up from less than 224,000 just 15 years prior. And it's important that we pause to thank all of these hardworking people. After all, American employers pay more than $260 billion each year for health-related work loss, according to National Today. Pharmacists are instrumental in helping to keep us healthy and keep our economy strong.

Nevermind that pharmacists do a lot more than just give out medications.

"Pharmacists can give us health advice and tips, including how to take multiple medications," according to National Today. "They know about drug therapy effectiveness and can teach us about medical devices we use at home."

When is National Pharmacist Day?

National Pharmacist Day occurs on January 12th every year.

What is the history of National Pharmacist Day?

National Pharmacist Day has a history that dates back several decades.

"Historically, the primary role of a pharmacist was to check and distribute drugs to doctors for a patient prescribed medication; in modern times, pharmacists advise patients and health care providers on the selection, dosages, interactions and the side effects of prescriptions, along with having the role as a learned intermediary between a prescriber and a patient," according to National Day Calendar. "Monitoring the health and progress of patients, pharmacists can then ensure the safe and effective use of medication."

In fact, it was on September 28, 1928 that the world discovered the first breakthrough antibiotic. Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. That's when pharmacists became really necessary to dispense these kinds of drugs. That said, it was in 754 AD that the first pharmacies were established, in Baghdad, during the Islamic Golden Age.

Then, on May 8, 1963, America's largest drug store made its debut. CVS opened its doors, becoming the largest pharmacy in the U.S., employing 24,000 pharmacists. But National Pharmacist Day wasn't celebrated all those years. It's only been in recent years that people have started to recognize the day.

That said, National Day Calendar cannot identify when exactly the day became a national holiday.

"Within our research, we were unable to find the exact creator of National Pharmacist Day," the site explains. "However, it is indicated that it is likely a group of pharmaceutical groups are founders."

How is National Pharmacist Day celebrated?

There are several ways to celebrate National Pharmacist Day. Here are three ways to do just that.

1. Thank your pharmacist.

There's no better way to celebrate National Pharamcist Day than by saying thanks to your pharmacist. Thank your pharmacist for their hard work in person. It takes just minutes out of your day to walk into your local pharmacy to stop by and show your appreciation.

You can also send your pharmacist a letter or a note with flowers. Others may choose to send a small gift or a gift card along with a thank-you note to show their gratitude. Your note can say something along the lines of: "Thanks so much for all of your help and support of the years! I appreciate the work that you do to help my family and I in keeping healthy, and we want you to know how much we value you. Happy National Pharmacist Day to you and your team!"

Just a small gesture will go such a long way, and it'll surely be appreciated.

2. Post a photo of your pharmacist and/or pharmacy on Instagram.

Get on Instagram to share a photo of your pharamcist and/or pharmacy with the hashtag #APharmacistIs (just be sure that you ask for permission first, as you don't want to share people's photos without them knowing!). Then click on the hashtag to see all the other pharmacists in the area featured on the national holiday.

You can get to know all the pharmacists in your area this way, as well, if you don't already have a go-to pharmacy. This is a great way of connecting with pharmacists in your local region so you can stay on top of your health and have a network of support around you.

3. Share some kind words about your pharmacist on social media.

Head to Facebook or Twitter to post your thanks online. Be sure to use #NationalPharmacistDay to show your support. Doing this will help to spread the word about National Pharmacist Day for those who aren't already aware of it.

Here's an example post for inspiration: "It's "National Pharmacist Day! National Pharmacist Day, celebrated annually on January 12, honors pharmacists across different specialties and in every setting by recognizing the impact they have in health care. Traditionally, a white-coat-wearing, pill-dispensing health care professional may come to mind when thinking of a pharmacist, but their role in the patient journey extends well beyond filling prescriptions. As vital members of the medical care team, pharmacists consistently make a difference in their patients’ lives. #NationalPharmacistDay," writes PharmacyWeek on Facebook.

Whatever you choose to write, your words will speak volumes.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.