The promise of fresh, chemical-free fruits and veggies is one of the greatest joys of summer, says Marla Ahlgrimm. But before you begin your gardening for the season, keep in mind that the probability for accidents, injuries, and other issues also grows as the days get longer. Here are five ways to stay safe:
- Block the sun.
There is one thing all vegetable gardens have in common and that’s the need for full sun. Marla Ahlgrimm says this means you’ll be exposed to more UV rays than you really need. Wear a sunscreen with an SPF or at least 15; SPF 30 or 50.
- Watch for pests.
Bugs not only want to munch on your tomatoes, many will see you as a moving feast. Specifically, ticks and mosquitoes. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that you can reduce your chances of exposure to Lyme disease and other bug-borne illnesses by wearing long sleeves and pants and applying bug spray before you grab your gloves.
- Cover your hands.
Speaking of gloves, Marla Ahlgrimm stresses the importance of protecting your hands and feet while you’re outdoors. A good pair of leather garden gloves and thick-soled shoes will keep your hands and feet out of the way of bacterial, pesticides, and fungi. Plus, you won’t be as likely to cut yourself on sharp garden tools.
- Stay hydrated.
Grab a bottle of water and keep it within arm’s reach when you’re in the hot sunshine. Dehydration is more likely if you’re outside for several hours and can cause dizziness and a host of other unpleasant side effects.
- Avoid repetition.
Raking, hoeing, and pruning are necessary tasks if you want your garden to grow. But these repetitive motions can take a toll on your tendons and can trigger mild nerve damage, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Take a 10 to 15 minute break every half hour to give your body a rest.