Tips for Safe and Healthy Gardening

March 27, 2013 — By

Spring is here, and we can hardly wait to get outside and start preparing the yard for this year’s outdoor activities. Whether you like to grow vegetables or strive for that enviable lawn, be sure to make health and safety a part of your outdoor routine.  The tips below, provided by the CDC, will help make sure this year’s gardening is filled with positive rewards.

Put safety first.

Powered and unpowered tools and equipment can cause serious injury. Limit distractions, use chemicals and equipment properly, and be aware of hazards to lower your risk for injury.

  • Follow instructions and warning labels on chemicals and lawn and garden equipment.
  • Make sure equipment is working properly. [Check for safety recalls on yard equipment here.]
  • Sharpen tools carefully.
  • Keep harmful chemicals, tools, and equipment out of children’s reach.

Dress to protect.

Gear up to protect yourself from lawn and garden pests, harmful chemicals, sharp or motorized equipment, insects, and harmful rays of too much sun.

  • Wear safety goggles, sturdy shoes, and long pants when using lawn mowers and other machinery.
  • Protect your hearing when using machinery. If you have to raise your voice to talk to someone who is an arm’s length away, the noise can be potentially harmful to your hearing.
  • Wear gloves to lower the risk for skin irritations, cuts, and certain contaminants.
  • Protect yourself from diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks. Use insect repellent containing DEET. Wear long-sleeved shirts, and pants tucked in your socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots since ticks are usually located close to the ground.
  • Lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Wear long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, sun shades, and sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher.

Know your limits in the heat.

Even being out for short periods of time in high temperatures can cause serious health problems. Monitor your activities and time in the sun to lower your risk for heat-related illness.

  • If you’re outside in hot weather for most of the day you’ll need to make an effort to drink more fluids.
  • Avoid drinking liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar, especially in the heat. These actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
  • Take breaks often. Try to rest in shaded areas so that your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover. Stop working if you experience breathlessness or muscle soreness.
  • Pay attention to signs of heat-related illness, including extremely high body temperature, headache, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or unconsciousness.
  • Watch people who are at higher risk for heat-related illness, including infants and children up to four years of age; people 65 years of age or older; people who are overweight; people who push themselves too hard during work or exercise; and people who are physically ill or who take certain medications (i.e. for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation).
  • Eat healthy foods to help keep you energized.

Persons with disabilities and physical activity.

Talk to your health care provider if you have physical, mental, or environmental concerns that may impair your ability to work in the garden safely.

  • If you have arthritis, use tools that are easy to grasp and that fit your ability. Research shows that 2½ hours per week of moderate physical activity can give you more energy and can help relieve arthritis pain and stiffness.
  • If you are taking medications that may make you drowsy or impair your judgment or reaction time, don’t operate machinery, climb ladders, or do activities that may increase your risk for injury.
  • Listen to your body. Monitor your heart rate, level of fatigue, and physical discomfort.
  • Call 911 if you get injured, experience chest and arm pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, or heat-related illness.

 

4 Comments

  1. Brilliant advice – as another safety point we always suggest that sheds and gates have security and locks attached. It’s also worthwhile using storage boxes in sheds to prevent anything from falling onto you!

  2. Not only Nice , It is great One! Nice Man. really its nice post.

  3. JeanneD says:

    Having a parent up in age, I can relate to your advice about heat. He passed out from dehydration and had to be taken to hospital via ambulance.

  4. Great advice, safety out in the garden is something that a lot of people either forget about or ignore.