As millions across the country are being instructed to remain indoors, public health professionals at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) are urging individuals to stay safe while on lockdown.
While people heed the government’s advice to stay inside, there are fears that some may utilise this extra time at home as an opportunity to get on with some jobs around the house that may have been neglected earlier in the year.
Tasks such as DIY and gardening may be at the forefront of people’s minds as we move into spring, but staff at the hospital want to remind people that all the correct precautions should be followed when undertaking any home improvements, which would mean less people having to attend the emergency department throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Helena Jopling, public health consultant at WSFT, said: “We understand that some people may find themselves with a bit more time on their hands at home and will want to undertake tasks that they may not normally find time for.
“While keeping busy in the current climate is a very positive thing, we just want to simply remind them that they should still take the same safety measures when attempting anything potentially hazardous.
“For example, wearing protective clothing such as protective eyewear while working on a DIY project or gardening will go a long way in helping you avoid any accidents, as well as taking the strain off our already busy hospital.”
As well as the risks associated with home improvements, there are also warnings about other activities that may take place while people are on lockdown in their own homes. While it may be tempting to have an extra glass of wine or two in the evening, drinking to excess could cause problems for yourself, your family as well as the local health services.
Louise Mascall, alcohol, substance misuse and liver disease clinical nurse specialist at WSFT, said: “Alcohol misuse can cause serious health problems, which can result in hospital admission. If you’re struggling with alcohol issues, it’s important that you know there is support available for you, so you should first contact your local GP.”
Practising safe sex while on lockdown is also a topic that professionals at the Trust want to make people aware about.
Helena Jopling adds: “Healthy, loving relationships are a source of great comfort when times are difficult. I’d just like to ask everyone to remember to stay safe, to reduce the risk of passing on a sexually transmitted infection or having an unplanned pregnancy.
“Condoms and other types of contraception can still be purchased and dispensed at supermarkets and pharmacies during this pandemic, so should also be on your essential items list. Remember, condoms are the only type of contraception that can both prevent pregnancy and protect against STIs.”