Safe and Healthy Gardening
Gardening is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, relax, get some exercise, beautify your home and neighborhood and grow your own healthy fruits and vegetables. Whether you are a beginner gardener or have the greenest thumb in your neighborhood it’s important that you take steps to ensure that you keep yourself safe and healthy to fully enjoy your garden and all it has to offer.
Dress Properly: Wearing the proper clothing can help protect you from harmful chemicals, insects and the sun’s rays. For maximum protection, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes with socks. A wide brimmed hat will also help protect you from the sun by shading your face, head, ears and neck. Insect repellant will help keep biting and stinging insects away, and don’t forget your sunscreen! Use at least an SPF 15 or higher, and reapply early and often. Learn more about sun safety here.
Watch the Temperature: Being outdoors for even short periods of time in high temperatures can pose serious health risks. Pace yourself, and try to schedule your activities during times when the sun isn’t so strong (before 10am and after 4pm). Take time to rest often, and stay hydrated. Avoid alcoholic, carbonated and caffeinated beverages; water is best. Click here to learn more about heat-related illness and how to prevent it.
Safety First: Outdoor work always presents a special set of safety concerns, and gardening is no exception. Be sure that you read all the instructions and warnings on any chemicals you may use. Wear gloves and, if necessary, eye protection and a mask. Before running any equipment, such as a weed eater, lawnmower or tiller, ensure that the tool has been properly serviced and has no obviously broken, worn or loose parts.
Get a Tetanus Shot: Tetanus lives in soil, so be sure that you have had a tetanus vaccination within the past 10 years. CCHD offers the vaccine with no appointment necessary. Visit the Immunization program page for hours and other information.
Working in your yard or garden offers many benefits. Gardening is a great way to get your daily dose of physical activity. People that are active are less likely to be obese or suffer from high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and a number of other physical ailments. Keeping your yard and garden free of clutter, standing water and overgrown vegetation helps to prevent rodent and insect infestation and will cut down the number of mosquitoes that take residence around your home. Finally, following certain gardening practices, like conserving water and reusing containers, can have a positive effect on our environment. Whatever your reason for working in your garden, make sure that you make your health and safety a top priority!