What can you do to make sure you come to as little harm as possible when gardening we have put together a few ideas to help you.
Wear the right clothes, gloves, a hat and if possible a long sleeve top.
Gloves are excellent and come in such a wide range of styles and types, from heavy-duty, thorn proof to light wight seedling gloves. This helps prevent cuts, stings and thorns. Sounds silly but wearing gloves is always a good idea.
Invest in a hat that you are comfortable in, one that has a wide brim and covers the back of your neck. Long sleeve top or a tightly woven fabric this will provide extra sun protection, but to improve this you can buy a wash in laundry products that when used on a hot wash can increase the SPF protection to factor 30.
Sunscreen, a high protection factor with added moisturiser.
It sounds obvious but when you are working outside you can become hot and sticky so try to remember to reapply every few hours, spray types are easier for gardeners to use as we normally have dirty hands. If your sun protection does not have added moisturiser then remember to apply some daily during the summer.
Protect your lips
It easy to overlook your lips during the summer but they need sun protection and moisturising. Try to use a lip balm with a high SPF and UV protection. Its not just the winter time that lips can dry out.
Protect yourself from biting insects
Insects are particularly attracted to darker colours such as navy blue, blacks, browns and purples. Try to avoid these when gardening but also use an insect repellent, these are easily applied as a spray and most will last a long time. Another tip is to use tea tree oil products for washing hair and showering. It works.
Lastly but possibly the most important know your plants.
Be able to identify plants that are potentially poisonous, or can cause itchy skins, burns or rashes. All these plants listed below are safe to grow provided they are treated with respect. They are ornamental plants and often are very beautiful - some are most definitely not meant to be eaten. Avoid contamination by wearing gloves and covering your skin.
Aconitum (monkshood) - Very poisonous; irritant via the skin a high risk plant and every gardener should ensure they know how to identify this plant.
Allamanda poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily) - skin irritant
Alocasia (taro) grown as a houseplant - poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Anthurium (Flamingo flower) Houseplant - poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Arisaema (Cobra-lily) - poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Arum (Cuckoo-pint, lords-and-ladies) - poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Asparagus (Asparagus fern) - may cause skin allergy, fruits poisonous
Atropa (Deadly nightshade) - poisonous; skin irritant
Calla palustris (Water arum) - poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Capsicum annum (Ornamental pepper cultivars)- skin & eye irritant;poisonous
Chelidonium majus (Greater celandine) - poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Daphne (Mezereon, spurge laurel) - poisonous; skin irritant
Dieffenbachia (Dumb cane, leopard lily) houseplant - poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Echium - skin irritant
Euphorbia (Spurge) poisonous; skin & eye irritant NB: Poinsettia (E. pulcherrima) also known as Poinsettia is considerably less toxic than other Euphorbia species. However, it is best to avoid ingestion and contact with milky sap.
Ficus carica (fig) edible fruit but can cause skin and eye irritant
Hedera (Ivy) - somewhat poisonous; skin irritant
Heracleum mantegazzianum (giant hogweed) causes severe skin irritant in bright sunlight
And Heracleum sphondylium (hogweed, common hogweed) and other Heracleum spp - severe skin irritant in bright sunlight.
Lantana - poisonous; skin irritant
Lobelia (except bedding lobelia, L. erinus) - somewhat poisonous; skin & eye irritant.
Mirabilis (Marvel of Peru, Four o’clock plant) - poisonous; skin irritant
Monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant) Houseplant poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Pastinaca sativa (Parsnip) - severe skin irritant in bright sunlight
Ruta (Rue) - severe skin irritant in bright sunlight
Spathiphyllum (Peace lily) Houseplant - poisonous; skin & eye irritant
Zantedeschia (Calla lily) - poisonous; skin & eye irritant
There are many gardeners who can tell stories of when they have been gardening and been caught out by plant attack. Have you got any similar stries to tell?