Gardening Hand Safety
Now that the weather is getting nice and we want to get out into our gardens, just remember to protect your hands. We are working in dirt, mulch, around sharp things like thorns and sticks that can cause irritation and infection. Don’t forget about insects and spiders that can also carry disease and infections too.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Comission (CPSC), emergency departments treat more than 400,000 outdoor garden-tool-related accidents each year. Punctures are the primary concern from a variety of different things: wood, thorns, metal, and glass resulting in irritation and infection if not removed. Clean and remove any visible debris if you are injured. Watch for signs and symptoms of infection: redness, swelling, pain, warmth, red streaks leading from the wound, fever or swollen lymph nodes and seek medical attention immediately.
The best way to protect the hands is to wear gloves. Gloves provide a barrier from soil, mulch, splinters, pricks, cuts, scrapes, insect bites and poison plants (poison oak and ivy). There are a lot of different options available. Leather provides the most protection from sharp objects but, don’t breathe well and retain water. Cotton breathes but doesn’t provide a lot of protection from sharps or water. Rubber works well in wet or muddy situation but, don’t breathe and can be punctured. Nitrile gloves allow for the greatest dexterity for transplanting tender plants and provide some protection from puncture but, then may not breathe as well. Choose a glove for the job you are doing. They should fit snug so as not to fall off. If you are pruning or removing brush, choose a glove with a longer gauntlet or wrist protectors. Additionally, gloves can also protect the hands from sunburn, finger damage and reduce blistering.
Gloves are not a 100% effective. Take care of the hands after gardening.
Wash hands thoroughly and inspect them for any cuts or slivers. Use a soft brush under and around the nails. Use a good lotion to prevent cracks and chaffing.
Protect your hands! You have a lot of gardening to do.
Dickinson Occupational Therapy
1721 S. Stephenson Ave
Iron Mountain, MI 49801
Phone: (906) 776-5548
Fax: (906) 776-5478