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Pharmacies are specialized businesses that sell prescription medications. Because they deal directly with medications, a pharmacies must meet certain health requirements. One of these requirements is to have and use a buffer room. This special room serves several purposes.
A buffer room must be kept sterile at all times. All workers entering the buffer room must wear a face mask and apron to protect the immediate area from their germs. The buffer room is the only absolutely sterile room in the pharmacy. In order for the pharmacy to remain up to code, it must stay this way. The walls, floors, ceilings and all surfaces must be smooth and easy to clean, and only a minimal amount of furniture may remain in the room.
Sterile compounding of pills and other medications takes place in the buffer room. Compounding is the process in which a pharmacist divides pills into a container in order to fill a prescription. The pharmacist removes the pills from the manufacturer's sterile, air-tight packaging and places the required number of pills in the container for the customer.
A pharmacist must seal each prescription container in the buffer room to avoid contaminating the container and its contents. The pharmacist seals the container immediately after filling it. This ensures that the pills are perfectly safe for the patient to ingest.
The air quality of the buffer room must be tested once at least every six months. This ensures that no deadly pathogens or dangerous airborne bacteria are in the air. Due to the necessity of cleanliness and sterilization in the buffer room, it is held up to a much higher standard than any other room in the pharmacy.