Gardening is a great way to pass the time during the warmer months of the year, and it also provides a way to be physically active while doing something you love. But while gardening may seem like a casual way to get active and boost vascular health, it doesn’t come without a cause for caution.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency rooms treat more than 400,000 outdoor garden tool-related accidents each year. With proper safety techniques, you and your green thumb can stay in one piece and away from the emergency room this year!
Limit direct sun exposure.
While it can be hard to not be directly in the sun while gardening, try to get your chores done early in the day before the sun is directly above you. Use sunscreen, even on cloudy days, to help protect yourself from sunburn. The best sun coverage calls for wearing a hat, sunglasses, pants and long sleeves.
Gloves not only protect your hands from blisters but also from fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria and fungus that live in the soil. Gloves also help form a barrier from thorns, poison ivy, insects, snakes and other irritants in your garden. Think about how much easier it is to wash your hands without them being directly caked in mud!
Use tools, not your hands.
Your hands are not meant to dig, so don’t try to use them for that direct purpose. Using the recommended tools to help rake or dig holes in your garden is a must. Sharp objects and debris are lurking in your soil, so tools are your best choice to prevent injury. Digging with your hands can also cause injuries to fingernail beds.
Additionally, it’s important to select the right tool for the right job and use it the proper way. Read the manufacturers’ instructions before using a tool for the first time.
Check your posture.
Gardening can cause pain throughout the body from having to bend over and pick up items repeatedly. Remain conscious on your body posture throughout this activity so you can limit pain and maximize strength while doing work.
Take notice of first aid measures.
Have a first aid kit nearby while gardening in case you ever need it. If you cut your finger or hand while gardening, visit the doctor when:
- Bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes of constant pressure.
- You notice persistent numbness or tingling to the affected area.
- You’re unsure of your tetanus immunization status.
- You’re unable to thoroughly clean the wound by rinsing with a mild soap and plenty of clean water.
Follow these steps to stay safe this gardening season so you can enjoy your fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables when they’re ready to harvest.