Gardening and DIY enthusiasts urged to stay safe during bank May holiday weekends

Pharmacy

As two May Bank holiday weekends are approaching and homeowners’ thoughts turn to making a few improvements around their house, local NHS health leaders are asking DIYers and gardeners to take care this year. 

There were almost 4,800 admissions to hospital wards nationally for injuries from drills and other power tools in just 12 months, according to the latest figures.   The most common garden accidents are falls and cuts, and even plant rashes, and for DIY accidents are also knives, scalpels and falls from ladders.

Rachel McColm, Emergency Department consultant at Hereford County Hospital, said: “What we’re advising is to think carefully about every project, allow the correct amount of time, use the correct equipment, plan it properly, and stock up on basic first aid items, such as antiseptic cream for bites and plant rashes, plasters for small cuts, for self-care at home.

“Wear gloves to help prevent small cuts, and strong shoes and trousers when mowing the lawn. Chemicals should be stored out of sight and out of reach of children and tools should always be tidied away after use.  Some things are definitely best left to the professionals – anything involving gas, electrics or roofing for example”.

Dr Ian Tait, GP and Clinical Chair for NHS Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “If you do need treatment for a cut, sprain, slip, trip or fall, and it’s not an emergency, consider going to a local pharmacy for advice, access a GP appointment via NHS 111, or attend the minor injury unit in Ledbury – please check the details below. If you are unsure which service you need or require non-emergency medical guidance, free advice is available 24 hours a day by calling NHS 111.

“Make sure you have medication at home to deal with minor injuries and common ailments like coughs, colds, upset stomachs, and allergies.  People with long-term conditions like asthma, heart conditions and diabetes should collect any repeat prescriptions they might need before the May bank holiday weekends”.

NHS alternatives:

  • Visit a pharmacy - pharmacists are trained to give advice about common illnesses, such as coughs, colds, and sore throats.  Visit Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group website herefordshireccg.nhs.ukfor the local pharmacy opening times during the May Bank Holiday weekends.
  • Call NHS 111 – If you need medical help fast, but your condition is not life threatening, you can call NHS 111.  Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the number is free to call and is staffed by trained advisors and experienced clinicians who can assess you, offer advice and direct you to the right place to get the medical care you need as quickly as possible. 
  • Book an appointment at an extended hours hub -if your regular surgery is closed and you need an appointment urgently that cannot wait until after the holiday period, you can call NHS 111 and ask for an appointment at one of the extended hours hubs (located in Hereford, Ross-on-Wye and Leominster).  Please note there are a limited number of appointments available. 
  • Minor injuries unit (MIU) – is located at Ledbury Community Health and Care Centre (01531 632488), which is open 24 hours a day, including Bank Holidays. Most minor injuries can be treated at the MIU, including cuts and rashes, minor burns, bruises, bites and stings. 

Prevention is better than cure so, for a safer bank holiday DIYers and gardeners are advised to:

  • Make sure ladders are secure and get an extra pair of hands to help
  • Don’t over-reach. Move the ladder or find another way
  • Wear protective clothing such as gloves and appropriate footwear
  • When painting or using power tools, ensure the area is well-ventilated and use a mask if needed
  • Always take extra care when handling any kind of blade used for cutting wallpaper or stripping cables etc.
  • Don't rush the job or try to do too much - people make more mistakes and have more accidents when they're rushing or tired
  • Lift safely - protect your back by bending at the knees when picking up objects, and call a friend or neighbour to help move large or particularly heavy items
  • If possible, don't work alone - make sure someone else knows where you are and what you're doing, so if you have a fall or get into difficulty, help will be on hand quickly

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