Gardening is a great way to get physical activity and beautify your neighborhood. However, you should protect yourself and take proper precautions when you are outside with tools, chemicals and insects.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), emergency rooms treat more than 400,000 outdoor garden tool-related accidents each year. With proper safety techniques, you can stay away from the hospital and avoid becoming a statistic.
You should follow these precautions to avoid injuries, pain and discomfort:
Wearing the proper gloves will not only reduce blistering but will also protect your skin from fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria and fungus that live in the soil. When exposed to soil, even the smallest cut runs the risk of developing into a major hand infection. Leather gloves offer protection from thorny objects and poison ivy, snake, rodent and insect bites, and other skin irritants in the garden. Gloves also prevent sun damage and fingernail damage.
Unless you are used to to the activity, repetitive motions such as digging, raking, trimming hedges, pruning bushes or planting bulbs may cause skin, tendon or nerve irritation. Make sure your gardening activities are varied and tasks are rotated every 15 minutes with a brief rest in-between so that the same muscles are not used over and over again.
Use a hand shovel or rake rather than your hand for digging. Sharp objects and debris buried in the soil may cut you. If possible, remove objects from the work area before beginning the task to avoid causing damage to you or your tools.
Avoid accidents by using tools for their intended purposes. Other important tool tips:
"Posture" refers not only to your whole body position but also to the angle of your wrist while using hand tools. Grip strength is at its maximum when the wrist is in a relaxed or neutral position. Studies have shown that people lose up to 25% of their grip strength when their wrist is bent.
If you cut your finger or hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop by applying direct pressure to the cut with a clean cloth. Visit the emergency room if:
Remember to safely enjoy the health benefits of gardening by using your hands and tools wisely.