Gardening is one of the healthiest pastimes out there, right? It is a good bout of physical exercise, gets you outside in the fresh air, and is calming for the mind, body, and soul, too.
Unfortunately, there are some inherent dangers with gardening that could result in severe illness or injury. So stick around while we take a look at the things you need to know about what might lurk in your backyard or garden.
There are plenty of infections that could be hiding in your garden in the form of nasty bacterial diseases. Take the legionella bacteria, as the perfect example. It’s incredibly dangerous to humans, and can often result in fatalities if not treated quickly. If causes severe respiratory problems, types of pneumonia, and could even cause cardiac arrest!
There have been occurrences of the disease appearing in potting mix, decorative fountains and water features, and hot tubs that are never drained. Even scarier is the fact that you don’t even have to come into direct contact with legionella bacteria, as is small enough for people to breathe it in in microscopic droplets that can float through the air.
If you start feeling breathless or ill after working in the garden, make sure you get a checkup at the doctors as soon as possible.
Ponds and pools
Sadly, one of the biggest killers of children is the ponds and pools we keep in our backyards. It only takes a moment for a young child to teeter and fall or trip into the water, and the reality is that any child could drown in less than a couple of inches of water.
It’s highly advisable to place protective covering over your ponds while your kids are too young to understand the danger and keep them there until they can, at the very least, swim or stand up safely, so their heads are well above the water level.
Don’t forget, there will be plants growing at the bottom of your pond which could trap the feet of a child, making it very difficult for them to escape.
The vast majority of spiders that you might find in your garden are entirely harmless to humans, of course. In fact, it is worth encouraging them as much as possible, as they devour many of the pests that could cause your plants, veggies, and shrubs a lot of health problems.
However, there are many different spiders out there and depending on where you live, a bite from some can cause you harm. If you get bitten by something like the funnel web spider, you should go straight to the doctor as it could cause you violent illness, and if you have a weak immune system, even death.
Other spiders cause problems, too, and any bite can prove to be uncomfortable. Try applying creams or treating them with essential oils. Ultimately, you should always check the landscape thoroughly before doing any gardening to ensure there are no dangerous or harm-causing spiders lurking out of plain sight.
We all like to think that as gardening experts we have full control over what does or doesn’t grow in our gardens however the reality is that nature has its own rules, and you never know what might start cropping up in your garden.
When that plant is something dangerous like hemlock – famously the species that made the poison that killed Socrates – which looks like the edible parsley plant, you could be in serious trouble if you fail to spot the difference.
Many different plants can cause all kinds of reactions, from the smallest of skin irritations like stinging nettles through to full-blown heart attacks from the likes of wolfsbane. As a rule, if you don’t recognise a plant in your garden, don’t touch it with your bare hands until you have researched what it is.
Of course it shouldn’t need stating but always impress on your kids that they should never eat anything that grows in your garden without asking you first.
Trees are a beautiful addition to any garden. They provide shade, are an attractive feature, and might even provide you with free fruit throughout the fall season. If they fall down while you are out gardening – which is a lot more common than you might think – they could be the death of you.
It’s important to keep an eye on the structural integrity of all your trees and make regular health checks and whenever there are high winds outside, avoid going anywhere near them. On a similar subject, don’t forget that in diseased trees, branches can often weaken, and may be dangerous for your children to climb, so again, keep your eyes peeled.
Lack of shade
We all spend hours in our gardens when the sun comes out – it’s one of the loveliest times to experience it, of course. Unless you are taking care of yourself from the sun, it’s also incredibly dangerous.
Sunburn, sunstroke, and heatstroke are all a lot more dangerous than you might think; over time you could develop nasty skin cancers, too. Make sure you are covering up with sunscreen when working in the garden and don’t forget to re-apply it at least every 2 hours, and always wear a hat that protects your head, neck, and ears.
Finally, one of the worst offenders for accidents in the garden – your tools!
Whether it’s a random rake that you forget to put away after clearing your garden debris or the electric hedge cutter you use to trim your shrubbery, the leading cause of garden accidents is an improper use of tools.
It’s easy to forget to put things away after every gardening session, of course, but you should try and develop good clearing up habits. Never start to get cocky when using any garden implement, especially any power tools. It only takes a second to lose your concentration, and the result could be grim, to say the least.
There are horrific stories of a relaxing session in the garden turning into a nightmare for people, who could experience everything from loss of limbs, severe blood loss, and even death down to improper use of tools and disregard of safety issues.