Gardening May Make You Sick: How to Avoid the Damage

Gardening has emerged as one of the favorite pastimes for Americans, with over half the households in the US investing in a green space. Beyond enhancing the aesthetics of your outdoor space, gardening activities do wonders for your health and mental well-being. Statistics show that people engaging in these activities have stress levels 4.2% lower and well-being scores 6.6% higher than those who never do them. 

Digging deep into the benefits, research suggests that gardening is more effective than walking or maintaining moderate alcohol intake in protecting against dementia. Other therapeutic benefits of the activity include weight management, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of health conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and Type 2 diabetes.

Conversely, time in the garden has a fair share of health risks if you fail to pay attention. Gardening may actually make you sick, but you can do your bit to avoid harm and make the most of the benefits it offers. 

Here are some insights to prevent the potential downsides of gardening:

Know Your Plants

Did you know that some of the harmless-looking plants in your backyard may be poisonous? Stinging nettle, castor oil plant, Lily of the Valley, rosary pea, wisteria, and rhubarb are a few examples of such plants. Weeds may also be the hidden culprits causing blisters, sores, and severe skin allergies avid gardeners often struggle with.

Learn to identify the potential troublemakers in your garden and steer clear of them. If they grow as weeds, you shouldn’t deal with them with bare hands. Wear gloves and long-sleeved clothing to avoid contact. You must quickly scrub your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water if you come in contact with itchy plants.

Switch to Organic Gardening Products

The use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and weed killers is commonplace in American gardens. Unfortunately, they can cause dire health hazards. Roundup is a popular weed killer that has been found to cause cancer due to its core ingredient, glyphosate. TorHoerman Law notes that the World Health Organization classifies glyphosate as a possible carcinogen.

Roundup litigation is in the limelight because it empowers victims to file claims against the manufacturer and seek compensation for their pain and suffering. Roundup lawsuit payouts and settlement amounts offer hope and solace to victims struggling with long bills and wage losses due to their medical conditions. With Bayer accepting a $10.9 billion Roundup settlement, victims can expect fair coverage.

Like Roundup, several hazards persist in chemical products you use for everyday gardening. Switching to organic alternatives is a better option. You can compost for manure and use essential oils to ward off weeds and insects. It’ll help minimize the risks linked with chemical products.

Watch Out for Sun Damage

Sun damage is always a risk for people spending time outdoors, and the threat goes beyond rashes and sunburns. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays elevates the risk of skin cancer. The risk of intense UV effects is higher for people living at higher altitudes, even when the sun may not be too bright in these areas. Heat stress is another severe implication of prolonged sun exposure.

You can address the risk by covering up well during outdoor gardening. Staying indoors between 10am and 2pm lowers the risk of peak exposure and heat-related illnesses. Schedule your gardening sessions early in the morning or later in the evening. Also, apply a sports-type sunblock as these products don’t wear off if you sweat. 

Wear a Mask

The pandemic is no longer around, but wearing a face mask still makes sense, especially for avid gardeners. You may be sensitive to dust and pollen and both are abundant in a thriving green space. A face mask is your defense against the tiny particles that may enter through the nose and mouth and cause allergies.

Smaller blooms with finer pollen are risky because they provoke sneezing and streaming eyes. The best bet is to avoid growing them in your garden. You can seek help from your partner or hire someone to tend to your green space when you are down with allergies or the seasonal allergies are around.

Summing Up

Undoubtedly, gardening can make you a healthier and happier person, but it entails some dire health hazards. Overlooking them is the last thing you should do. 

Awareness can help you deal with common gardening risks and spend time with your greens without worrying about rashes, allergies, sunburn, and injuries. Also, remember that you shouldn’t overdo it because fatigue is a potential side effect gardeners tend to ignore.