Top 5 DIY injuries – the importance of early diagnosis & minor injury management

David Foley, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of Affidea ExpressCare Minor Injuries & Illnesses Walk-In Clinic at Tallaght Cross East in Dublin, offers advice on early diagnosis and expert treatment as the basis for minor injury management. A second ExpressCare is open in The Elysian in Cork.

1. Finger & Hand Injuries

Hammers, nails, saws and chisels are all tools that can inflict a lot of accidental damage on unsuspecting hands. Anyone who has been unfortunate to suffer a hand injury will be aware just how debilitating it can be and how all activities of daily living can be compromised. The function of our hands is paramount and even trivial-appearing accidents can cause long-term loss of dexterity.

While prevention has a role to play and workplace education is important, the early diagnosis and appropriate management of hand injuries will reduce loss of function and therefore speed effective return to work.

2. Electrocution

Electrocution can cause a spectrum of injuries, ranging from mild local burns to cardiac arrest and death. The extent of the damage depends on whether the supply was domestic or industrial and the duration of exposure. Again, education in the workplace and home is key to the prevention of these events.

3. Head Injuries

Falls from heights and injuries from falling objects can all contribute to head injuries. While helmets can be life-saving, head injuries still cause a significant amount of illness and death every year. Loss of consciousness, a serious mechanism, vomiting, amnesia and decreased level of consciousness are all factors that can increase the risk in those who have suffered a head injury.

Learn more about Affidea Concussion Services

4. Lower Back Pain

Lifting heavy objects or working in cramped, awkward conditions can put undue or unusual strain on the lumbar spine. This can result in localised back pain or sciatica. Over 80% of back pain will resolve in 6-8 weeks and the pain can be modified with medication in the short-term. People who have occupational exposure to manual labour should take extra care and become “back aware”.

Prevention is far easier than treatment with back pain, so time spent strengthening your body’s core and maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the frequency of flare-ups.

5. Specific Occupational Hazards

Hazards such as eye damage from steel chips or bright light can be prevented by good eyewear. Similarly, elbow and knee-pads can help reduce the possibility of bursitis; a painful swelling over these joints that often afflicts plumbers and joiners’ injuries who put undue pressure on these areas when working.

The theme of prevention runs through all DIY injuries as there is a certain predictability to the nature and repetition of these accidents. Loss of function and time off work make quick diagnosis and expert treatment the basis of minor injury management.

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