Gardening can be an enjoyable hobby, as well as a lucrative career. While anything in life can come with risks and dangers, gardening can present its own set of unique health concerns. Whether you garden for fun or for work, it is important to be aware of the health concerns below to prevent any unnecessary health issues.
Disease Carrying Insects
Not only can bugs in a garden be devastating to your plants, they can also carry dangerous and deadly diseases. Ticks can transmit medical conditions such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, while mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus and Zika. To lower your risk, be sure your backyard is treated for pests and either treat yourself with bug spray or carry a bug repellent system when in the garden.
Whether it is for weed prevention, to stimulate plant growth, or to repel and destroy insects, throughout your gardening experienced you will find yourself exposed to a wide variety of chemicals that can be hazardous. While some of the most harmful substances have been banned by industry groups or government, some commonly used chemicals can lead to lung damage, skin irritation, blindness, and crooked toes. To help protect yourself, wear gloves and masks while utilizing chemicals and follow all of the safety and handling requirements listed on the packaging.
Being exposed for long periods time to sunlight can cause a variety of problems. Overexposure to sunlight can cause severe sunburn, skin damage, and even in some cases melanoma. To protect your skin from UV rays you will need to routinely apply sunscreen throughout the day and wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Cuts and Scrapes
When landscaping or working in the yard, you will find yourself exposed to thorny plants, bushes, and out-of-place branches that can cause large scraps or cuts. Additionally, you will be working with sharp metal tools that may have rust of dirt left on them and pose a puncture risk. To prevent problems that can result from these cuts and scrapes, you will want to be sure to clean and disinfect the cuts properly and apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. You will also want to stay up to date on your tetanus vaccine as well.
When gardening or landscaping, you may find yourself encountering plants that may be poisonous. While ingestion is very unlikely, there are plants that can transfer their poison simply through contact. Some poisonous plants that are commonly found in yards include:
. Poison Ivy
. Poison Sumac
. Stinging Nettle Leaves
. Poison Oak
It is important to be able to identify these plants so that you are able to avoid them when working.
Be aware of the health conditions above to help you to prepare and stay safe while gardening. Following a few simple safety tips will make your gardening experience more pleasant and safe whether you do it as a hobby or a profession.