People have been urged to avoid putting any additional pressure on the NHS by being careful when carrying out DIY or gardening during the coronavirus lockdown.
Dangerous DIY could result in injury and take up precious NHS resources at a time of national crisis, surgeons have warned.
With swathes at people stuck at home, many will turn to DIY projects.
But the British Society for Surgery of the Hand is urging people to take extra care to avoid injuries that could place unnecessary pressure on the NHS.
An increase in the number of people who use power tools, lawn mowers and hedge trimmers could lead to a spike in serious injuries, it warned.
Injuries linked to such DIY include severed fingers, deep cuts and infections.
David Warwick, president of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, said: “Doing gardening and home improvements can offer important mental health and wellbeing benefits during this difficult time.
“But we need people to ensure they are doing these things safely, to minimise the risk of serious injury and reduce the strain on our NHS.
“Most injuries occur when people take short-cuts or rush. With people now having more time at home, we are encouraging them to take the time to plan the piece of work and consider the risks.
“By taking simple precautions, people can minimise their own risk of harm and reduce the burden on our health services at a critical time.
“There will be limited NHS resources to treat unexpected injuries during this pandemic, so by all playing our part, we can ensure that front-line health professionals can focus on giving urgent care where it is most needed.”
The Society has offered safety tips for gardeners including: wearing protective gloves, keeping hands well away from the blades of a lawn mower and if machinery doesn’t work, always unplugging it before investigating the problem.
And power tool users should follow the instructions carefully and keep pets and children well out of the way.