How to Stay Healthy and Safe in the Garden
Gardening is an enjoyable way to exercise your body and clear your mind, but there are also some health and safety issues you should address for a safe home garden:
Tetanus booster shot. Check with your doctor to see if you need a tetanus booster shot. Tetanus is a risk if you cut or scratch yourself while working around soil.
Protective gear. When you are working in your garden, you will need to protect yourself from sharp-edged equipment, chemicals such as pesticides, sun exposure, and insects. You should have a pair of gardening gloves, sunglasses, a broad brimmed hat, protective shoes, and knee pads if you will be bending a lot. If you plan on doing heavy lifting, a back brace can help protect your back. Also wear DEET-containing insect repellant and a sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher to protect against mosquitoes, ticks, and the harmful rays of the sun.
Use chemicals properly. When using pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals in your garden, be sure to read instructions and warning labels so that you will use them safely. Wear gloves when handling chemicals.
Stay cool in the heat. When working in hot conditions, make sure to drink plenty of water, take breaks in shady areas, and watch for warning signs of heat-related illness, such as high temperature, headache, rapid heart rate, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. On hot, sunny days, do your gardening before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
Have allergies or asthma? Avoid plants that trigger your condition when designing your garden. Consider wearing a face mask to reduce your contact with allergens. Gardening in the evening can also help reduce allergy or asthma symptoms, since pollen concentration is generally lower in cooler, less sunny conditions.
One you start to experience the joy of gardening, it will be hard to resist the temptation to work outside whenever possible. Be sure to take the time to step back and appreciate the beautiful results of your labor, too.