Gardening offers exercise and fresh food, but don’t forget to protect yourself from potential hazards, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Some of those dangers include: insects, too much sun, garden tools and chemicals, according to the CDC.
Wear gloves to reduce the risk of skin irritations, cuts and certain contaminants. Sun protection includes a long-sleeved shirt, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, the CDC recommends.
Protect yourself from disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks by wearing a long-sleeved shirt and tucking your pants in your socks. Rubber boots are a good idea because ticks typically lurk close to the ground. And, use insect repellent with DEET.
When using lawn and garden power equipment, wear safety goggles, hearing protection, sturdy shoes and long pants. Make sure equipment is working properly and sharpen tools carefully. Follow instructions and warning labels when using lawn and garden equipment, and chemicals. Keep chemicals, tools and equipment out of children’s reach.
If it’s a hot day, limit your time in the sun and be sure to drink plenty of water. Take regular breaks and try to rest in shady areas. Stop gardening if you develop shortness of breath or muscle soreness, the CDC advises.
Monitor yourself and others for signs of heat-related illness, such as headache, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, loss of consciousness and extremely high body temperature.
People at higher risk for heat-related illnesses include seniors and children younger than 4 years of age, people who are overweight or have health problems, and those who take certain medications, such as drugs for depression, insomnia or poor circulation, the CDC says.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more gardening health and safety tips.