Summer hit with a bang with past Ski to Sea Memorial Day weekend here in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Now that all the winter’s rain is showing up in the green of the yards around town, I want to offer some tips on gardening safety. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some great ideas on things to think about when you’re pruning, weeding, mowing, and relaxing after a hard day’s work outside.
- Wear the right stuff. This doesn’t just mean a beekeeper’s suit if you’re harvesting the honey. Wear safety goggles and ear protection for mowing, or using other loud equipment that kicks up noise and debris. Gloves are a must when hacking back the blackberries, or warring with the roses. There are lots of different kinds of gloves at stores like Bellingham’s local Hardware Sales, with advice on what types to wear for the task at hand.
- More on gloves and preventing cuts. You might think that little nick on your knuckle doesn’t mean much, but consider what may live in the soil. Tetanus, for one. It lives in the soil, and can enter the body through a break in the skin. Make sure you are up to date on your tetanus vaccination, which for adults is given every ten years.
- Sharpen tools carefully. I think this one speaks for itself. Test equipment before you put it to task to make sure it’s operating correctly.
- If you’re spraying chemicals, wait for a calm day. Also, you might want to think about pesticides and other serious chemicals for our furry and feathered friends, and err on the side of non toxic stuff. Also, be careful where you store these things so that curious kiddos can’t sample and explore, and always handle them carefully. Clean up spills!
- We know you want to make up for the winter’s gray and get your Vitamin D, but watch out for sunburns. Consider a break indoors during the high heat of the day between 10 am – 2 pm. Wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to prevent burns and farmer’s tans. Drink lots of water and/or electrolyte replacement drinks, and know your limits. Sip some lemonade and take a break now and then, when your body tells you it’s time. If you start to notice you are breathless, dizzy, nauseous, confused or develop a headache, rapid pulse or your muscles become sore… well, it’s definitely time to get in the shade and hydrate.
- Ticks may lie in wait on the ground for someone haplessly passing by. Mosquitoes want to drink your blood too. So, wear insect repellent and long sleeves if you know you’re going into their neck of the woods. Boots that you tuck your pants into will announce to them you’re not there to play (with them, at least).
- Last but not least, if you get hurt, feel chest and/or arm pain, dizziness or become light-headed, seek medical care.
For more tips on summer safety, click here: