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First Aid for Gardeners

2nd June 2019
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The sun is shining, days are longer and gardens our starting to bloom! With more time spent outdoors pruning bushes and tended to flower beds, our blog this month focuses on how to keep safe when gardening and what to do if any accidents do take place.

Cuts and Wounds

Keen gardeners will know that cuts and scratches are all too common, especially when dealing with prickly rose thorns and sharp gardening tools! It’s important to treat cuts properly to prevent dirt entering the wound, leading to infections and worse still, sepsis.

If the wound is minor it can be easily treated at home by following these simple steps:

Clean the wound and Stop the bleeding

  • Sit down or lay down to prevent dizziness or fainting
  • Clean the wound first as this helps to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Examine the site for anything that may be left in the wound – do not remove any embedded objects. If there is one present work around the wound and move on to the next step.
  • Apply pressure to the affected area (or around the embedded object) using a sterile bandage or an absorbent material if you do not have one

Keep an eye on the wound over the following days as it’s important to look for signs of infection with all wounds, big or small! A wound is at risk of becoming infected if

  • It has been contaminated with dirt or other bodily fluids
  • A piece of gravel or glass becomes embedded into the wound
  • The wound has a jagged edge
  • The wound is longer than 5cm
  • The wound was caused by an animal bite

Signs of infection are:

  • Swelling, redness and pain in the affected area
  • Collection of pus in or around the wound
  • A high temperature of above 38 degrees C
  • Feeling lethargic and generally unwell
  • Swollen glands under the chin, in your neck, armpits or groin.

Seek medical help immediately on the first signs of infection!

Hazards of Tools!

It’s easy for gardening tools to get left on lawns, or knocked over by the children playing. It only takes one small slip on a dewy lawn for a foot to become impaled on a rake or fork! Make sure you keep tools that aren’t being used locked away and store upright.

What do you do if somebody does become impaled?

  1. DO NOT TRY AND REMOVE THE OBJECT!
  2. If the object is large, lay yourself or the casualty on the floor if breathing is compromised you may consider a more comfortable position may be sat upright, be guided by the casualty. Keep the tool still and call 999, continue to monitor the casualty
  3. If it is short or small, try and steady it by placing a dressing around it and then use another to secure it in place so that it cannot move around.
  4. Keep the casualty calm whilst you wait for help.

Insect and Plant Stings

With beautiful flowers come bees and many of us end up being stung whilst spending time outdoors during the summer months. Some plants can also cause sting or lead to allergic reactions and it is important to know how to respond, especially when it comes to children.

  • If the sting is visible on the skin, use the edge of a credit card to scrape it away
  • Wash the affected area with soap and water
  • Apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
  • Raise or elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.
  • Avoid scratching the area to reduce the risk of infection

Antihistamines can help to reduce the swelling and itching but always seek advice from your pharmacist regarding over-the-counter treatments.

If someone has been stung in the mouth or throat give them an ice cube to suck on or a glass of cold water to sip. If swelling starts to develop then call 999 immediately!

Signs of Allergic Reaction:

  • Rash
  • Itchiness
  • Swelling on the hands, feet or face
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing

First Aid Response:

  • Call 999
  • Keep the casualty calm
  • If they have a known allergy, help them to use an auto-injector, always following the guidance on the product.

For more First Aid advice and information why not try one of our Trainingly First Aid Courses or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Best Wishes and Enjoy the Sunshine

The Trainingly Team

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