Let the garden grow

Amanda Pell

I’m Mandy Pell and I work as a pharmaceutical advisor for NHS Kernow. As a community pharmacist I have spent 24 years working in pharmacies in Camborne and Redruth providing health and advice on a range of health issues. I’m now responsible for providing support to people through our GP practices, ensuring that the prescribing of medication is as safe and effective as it can be whilst making sure we get the best value for the money that the NHS spends on medication. This support extends to empowering patients to manage some conditions that are best treated more quickly with over the counter medication

As a community pharmacist and keen gardener I fully understand the challenges that pharmacists will face over the bank holiday. I like nothing more than digging, planting, growing and eating the fruit of my labour.

Having spent the long winter months going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark, lolling around in warm clothes, all of a sudden, we move into British Summer Time and we have an extra hour in the evening. The days are drawing out and our thoughts turn to spring. With the bank holiday weekend just around the corner and with a spring in our step at the lengthier evenings many of us are being tempted into the garden (or perhaps a spot of DIY).

It’s now that the garden, unloved over the dark days of winter, becomes accessible and presents as a new challenge. Instead of languishing inside, we quickly don our boots, dust the cobwebs away from the potting shed and assemble together our weapons of gardening warfare to tackle the perennial weeds that have flourished, threatening to take control of our beloved borders and beds, or allotment. Without any advance preparation to our sedentary muscles, we muster all the energy we can and get digging. If you’re regular gym lover, you know the importance of warming up, but for those of us who aren’t and with an eagerness to get stuck in it is not long before our muscles protest, our joints cry out, and we need to beat a hasty retreat.

A pharmacist can help with the advice on the best treatment for sprains and strains, and knowing when to seek help is of vital importance. A pharmacist might suggest tablets, or a cream or gel you rub on the skin.

Painkillers like paracetamol will ease the pain and ibuprofen will bring down swelling. However, you shouldn't take ibuprofen for 48 hours after your injury as it may slow down healing. After two weeks, most sprains and strains will feel better. Avoid strenuous exercise such as running for up to eight weeks, as there's a risk of further damage. Find out more about sprains and strains: www.nhs.uk/conditions/sprains-and-strains