Staying Safe and Healthy In The Garden
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 400,000 people receive emergency room treatment from being injured by garden and lawn tools in the USA every year with thousands more being treated due to complications arising from direct or indirect exposure to common garden pesticides. Sadly, a lot of these injuries involve young children making it all the more important to practice good garden safety for the whole family.
While gardening holds countless benefits for our health and general well-being it is important to exercise stringent garden safety precautions to prevent injury and illness as far as possible. These safety precautions range from general garden and pool safety measures such as tool and equipment use to more holistic safety methods that limit the use of chemicals that may be harmful to both you and your family as well as the environment.
Use a Lead-free garden hose
A lot of garden hoses contain lead that is used to stabilize the brass coupling and make the hoses more durable and supple. When you purchase a hose make sure to take a look at the back of the packaging where you are bound to notice a warning advising you to not drink from it. Some packaging may suggest that the hose is not left outside for prolonged periods of time in an attempt to minimize the amount of lead and other chemicals leaching. Fortunately, lead-free garden hoses are becoming increasingly common. If you need to replace yours make sure to opt for one that is lead-free or drinking water safe’. Also, ensure that ‘lead-free’ applies to the entire hose and not just the couplings. Lead can be extremely detrimental to one’s health and should be avoided where possible.
Avoid herbicides and pesticides as far as possible
Herbicides and pesticides can harm pets, people and wildlife. When it gets into drinking water and on food it has been linked to asthma, childhood cancer and even diabetes. Shockingly enough, many American homeowners use more chemicals per square foot on their lawns than most farmers use on the fields. Planting a diverse garden that attracts beneficial insects can reduce the need to use pesticides significantly. There are also many natural alternatives to traditional harmful chemicals.
Wearing the proper gloves will not only prevent painful blisters from forming but will also protect your skin from fungus and bacteria that lives in the soil, When exposed to infected soil even the smallest nick or cut runs the risk of turning into a major infection. A good-quality pair of gardening gloves offer protection against snake, rodent and insect bites, thorny objects, poison ivy fingernail damage and even offers protection from the sun.
Try to avoid prolonged repetitive motions
Unless you are in peak physical condition, repetitive motions such as raking, digging, trimming hedges or planting bulbs and seedlings can cause skin, nerve, tendon or muscle irritation. Make sure your gardening activities are varied in motion and that tasks are rotated every 15 minutes or so. Take frequent rest breaks to ensure that the same muscle groups aren’t over-used.
Gardening is a great way to spend time outdoors while engaging in physical activity but it is vitally important to protect yourself and take the necessary precautions in terms of safety in order to avoid becoming an ER statistic. Steer clear of any dangerous situations while taking an eco-friendly approach to your gardening and reap the benefits of a beautiful garden for many years to come.