Reporting from our dermatological colleagues in Amsterdam, the bulb growing capital of the world, we learn that Tulip finger, Lily rash and Hyacinth itch are some of the problems facing workers in the flower growing industry. Writing in ”Contact Dermatitis” Dutch dermatologists said many workers are prone to these occupational hazards – irritant dermatitis, contact dermatitis, allergic dermatitis, urticaria and contact itching usually caused by plant sap but sometimes by pesticides. Workers hands were the most commonly affected site, but, among those handling tulip bulbs extensive eczema on the hands can extend to the face and ano-genital region, and may give systemic allergy with respiratory symptoms. The incidence of such disease is hard to measure: there are few figures on the prevalence of this form of eczema.
REDUCING THE SWELLING. When you are not on your feet, you should sit with your feet up (on a stool or another chair for example). This will help the swelling to drain away. Over the first 3 days you should place an ice pack on the ankle for 15 minutes twice a day. Before doing this, do cover the ankle so that you do not burn the skin. If you don’t have an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas will do. This can be frozen again and reused as an ice pack. However, it is important that these are marked specifically for this purpose do not eat refrozen foods!
HELPING THE SPRAIN TO HEAL. It is very important to put weight on the foot as soon as possible as this helps with healing. This will be quite painful at first, as the tissues will feel very tight. You will also find it more painful first thing in the morning, and after resting the ankle for a long time. The Casualty Doctor may prescribe some tablets to help with the pain. Alternatively simple pain killers (such as Paracetomol or Ibuprofen) can be purchased at the chemists. Do not exceed the dose recommended on the packet. It is also very important that you walk as normally as possible without limping. A useful tip is to make a point of putting the heel to the ground first and transferring the weight through the length of the foot when stepping forward.
EXERCISES TO HELP. The muscles and ligaments around the ankle need to be strengthened after an injury. You should do these exercises 4 times a day for 2 minutes each. You should continue doing them for a week. While sitting on a comfortable chair make sure all these movements occur at the ankle joint:
St. Mary’s Health Centre: 422628
St. Mary’s Hospital: 422392
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