Lockdown hobbies led to thousands of injuries in England, NHS data suggests

Popular lockdown pursuits such as cooking, DIY and buying pets led to thousands of people needing hospital care for injuries, figures suggest.

Analysis of hospital admissions in England by the PA Media news agency showed that thousands were treated for injuries sustained as a result of activities that surged in popularity as people were confined to their homes.

The data from NHS Digital for 2020-21 showed that more than 5,600 people attended hospital after coming into contact with a powered hand-tool, and more than 2,700 were admitted after an accident with a non-powered hand-tool such as a hammer or a saw.

Figures also showed that 349 people were admitted after injuring themselves with lawnmowers. More than 5,300 people were admitted after falling from playground equipment, with the average age of patients being nine and a half years.

However, some parents and grandparents were involved as well, with dozens of people over the age of 30 admitted after falling from playground equipment, including eight people over the age of 90.

Data showed that 962 people were treated in hospital for injuries sustained while climbing trees.

Lockdowns also triggered a “pet baby boom” with data from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association in March showing that 3.2m households in the UK had acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic.

These new animals did not always bring joy, however, as 7,386 people were admitted to English hospitals after being bitten or struck by a dog, along with 47 people suffering a rat bite, and 60 people who had come into contact with a venomous spider. Four people were admitted after coming into contact with a scorpion.

Many people turned their hand to improving their cooking skills, and admissions data showed that 2,243 needed to be admitted after coming into contact with hot drinks, food, fats and cooking oils.

Although many were grateful for the sunny weather in the first lockdown, 153 people were admitted to hospital with sunburn.

The figures only include people who were admitted to hospital, and many more injuries would have been dealt with by A&E doctors and GPs. The figures for most accidents and injuries were lower than in previous years as people generally spent more time indoors.

A spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: “The publication of hospital admission figures always serves to remind us of the breadth of accident types that can result in an injury so severe that admission to hospital is required. In among the stranger entries in the database are some worrying trends that serve to highlight the accident challenges that we face. Accidents are preventable.”

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