People have been urged to avoid putting any additional pressure on healthcare workers by being careful when carrying out DIY or gardening chores during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dangerous DIY could result in injury and take up precious medical resources at a time of national and international crisis, surgeons have warned. With swathes of people stuck at home, many will turn to DIY projects.
Hand injuries re particularly common, according to the British Society for Surgery of the Hand which has urged people to take extra care to avoid gardening accidents and injuries that could place unnecessary pressure on medical practitioners.
An increase in use of power tools, lawn mowers and hedge trimmers could lead to a spike in injuries, putting strain on an overburdened health service, they warned.
Injuries linked to such DIY include severed fingers, deep cuts and infections. David Warwick, president of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, said: “Doing gardening and home improvements can offer important mental health and wellbeing benefits during this difficult time — But we need people to ensure they are doing these things safely, to minimise the risk of serious injury.”
Most injuries occur when people take shortcuts, he said. “With people now having more time at home, we are encouraging them to take the time to plan the piece of work and consider the risks,” he said.
“By taking simple precautions, people can minimise their own risk of harm and reduce the burden on our health services at a critical time.”
There will be limited resources to treat unexpected injuries during this pandemic, “so by all playing our part, we can ensure that frontline health professionals can focus on giving
urgent care where it is most needed”, he said.
The society has offered safety tips for gardeners including: wearing protective gloves, keeping hands well away from the blades of a lawnmower and if machinery doesn’t work, always unplugging it before investigating the problem.
Power tool users should follow the instructions carefully and keep pets and children well out of the way.