Gardening can be a relaxing activity that allows people of all ages to experience nature and know the joy of nurturing seeds and watching them bloom. Whether you're a first-time gardener or you've been gardening for many years, it's important to be mindful of your health and safety as you plant and tend to the soil. This guide will help you learn what to watch out for and how to deal with common safety issues you might encounter.
Check for Toxic Plants
Plants like poison ivy and poison oak can cause severe skin and eye irritation. If you're tending to a garden that hasn't had regular maintenance, be sure to check for any poisonous plants before you begin weeding or digging in the soil. According to Emergency Essentials, some common poisonous household garden plants include poison ivy, poison oak, oleander, and monkshood. Even if you're wearing gloves, you should still avoid touching your face or eyes while out in the garden. Instead, bring a clean cloth with you for this purpose. You'll need to wash your hands and any exposed skin thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately after gardening.
Take Care of Your Back
From bending down to weed a garden border to kneeling to place seeds, gardening tends to strain the back more than other body areas. To avoid spine damage, have a pair of gardening pants you're not afraid to get dirty. According to Chirp, you should kneel down, sit cross-legged, stretch out, and just basically sit. Make sure you regularly change positions and keep your spine naturally positioned. If you can, you might also want to invest in a rolling cart that is specifically for use in the garden. These carts have a comfortable seat on which to sit, and they have wheels so that you can roll yourself along the garden area. You'll be able to sit in a more upright position on the cart, and this could save your spine from pain and injury. If you have existing spinal issues, you might want to consider planting container gardens or using a potting bench where possible. Constructing raised beds could enable you to garden while standing up, reducing the stress on your spinal discs.
Look Out for These Pests!
Fire ants, black ants, mosquitoes, wasps and yellow jackets are among the many pests that may inhabit your garden. You can identify many stinging and biting insects by their bright colors or the presence of a stinger, and you might also wish to take a photo of any that you don't recognize so that you can research them later. Insect bites and stings typically cause localized itching, redness, swelling and pain. These symptoms will normally resolve by using at-home products such as the Bug Bite Thing to treat skin irritated by a bug bite. However, if breathing difficulties, facial swelling or other worrying symptoms develop, urgent medical attention should be sought. Individuals who have had allergic reactions to insect bites or stings in the past should ask their physician about whether they need to get a prescription medication for use after any future bites.
By following proper safety steps, you can create a garden that is an enjoyable space for everyone. If you have any health concerns related to your gardening activities, you should discuss them with your doctor.