8th – 14th August National Allotments Week 2016
This week is National Allotment Week 2016. Gardening is great for our mental health. This year the theme is about reaching out to the wider community and being inclusive. This week also sees International Youth Day on the 12th August perhaps this could be an opportunity to combine them both and encourage young people into allotmenting?
I love my allotment, I try to encourage my children down there; they’re mostly interested in the planting and then the picking. Gardening can lead to injuries though so here’s some first aid for gardeners.
During my clinical work I see a lot of people concerned about needing a tetanus vaccination for any wounds from the garden. In th UK tetanus vaccinations have been part of the routine vaccinations given since the early 1960s. The process is to have 3 as a baby, one before starting school and one before leaving school. These 5 are now considered sufficient protection for life. Therefore, it’s often not required to have a booster. The guidance from the Department of Health can be read here. I can only comment in general terms so if you are concerned about a wound always seek advice from a health professional.
The most common injury I pick up on my allotment are splinters! The process to remove them is to wash the injured part (mine are usually in my fingers) and remove the splinter with clean tweezers by pulling it out in the reverse direction that it went in. If a splinter is embedded, or especially if it is in a joint seek advice from a health professional.
Our gardening season in Buxton can be quite short due to the late spring and early autumn. This means that as soon as it’s possible to get out there and prepare the ground we’re out digging and weeding. Like any exercise consider your back! When you’ve not done much exercise over the winter and then dig and weed for 6 hours it can be too much for our backs.
The motto should be ‘take it steady’, ease yourself back into it. Consider it like exercise and do some gentle stretching afterwards to ease your muscles. If you do injure yourself use your normal simple painkillers (always following the instructions on the packet) and make sure you keep mobile. The days of going to bed with back ache have gone, it’s no longer advised. It is better to keep gently mobile. Taking to our beds can lead to increased stiffness as well as all the risks of reduced mobility. Plus back ache can lead to depression due to the immobility so it’s important to try and keep mobile.
Some GPs have a direct referral system to your local Physio and see your GP if you have any altered sensation such as tingling or loss of sensation.
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