Sowing the seeds of safety: Good habits in the garden
Great gardening depends on more than just seeds and shovels. Take a look at how you could grow into safer gardening practices.
Gardening is great! It can burn calories, strengthen muscles and relieve stress. But before you get digging in the dirt, make sure to put safety in your garden toolkit.
Shade your face and neck with a wide-brimmed hat.
Cover up by wearing a long-sleeved shirt and long pants to protect yourself from sun exposure.
Guard your hands from germs, cuts, punctures and irritation with gardening gloves. Also, make sure you are up-to-date on tetanus shots.
Select tools that are a good match for your strength, size and ability.
Slip on rubber boots to help protect yourself from ticks found close to the ground. Choose sturdy, closed-toe footwear to protect your feet from thorny twigs, bug bites and sharp tools.
Tools in toolbox
Put tools in their place when not in use. Don't place them on the ground where they can be stepped on.
Switch tasks about every 15 minutes to prevent muscle overuse.
Avoid awkward twisting and stretching, which can lead to muscle and back problems.
Read the warning labels and instructions before using any pesticides or herbicides.
Stay hydrated, and always keep water nearby. On hot days, store your water in the shade and take frequent rest-and-refresh breaks.
Apply sunscreen with a minimum 30 SPF (sun protection factor) on exposed skin 30 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply same amount every 2 hours.
It's easy to lose track of time when you're working in the garden. If you start feeling faint or weak:
- Get to a cooler location fast.
- Lie down and loosen your clothing.
- Apply cool, wet cloths to your body.
- Sip water.
Call 911 if symptoms don't go away or if you are injured, vomit, or have chest or arm pain.