Gardening is more than just adding curb appeal to your house (although a little natural beauty around the property never hurt anyone) – it can also be immensely therapeutic. Caring for flowers and plants is a great way to destress and unwind after a long week at work. It allows you to relax and truly be at one with nature. And there has been plenty of scientific research that suggests that gardening can also do wonders for your physical health. It keeps your blood pressure levels in check and contributes to a healthy weight.
But before you roll up your sleeves and start digging in your backyard, you need to remember that in the pleasant environment of your garden lurks some harmful microorganisms that can pose a threat to your health. This is why it is imperative that you always wear gloves for garden work.
Garden soil contains a wide variety of pathogens, including bacteria and fungi, most of which are beneficial as they help decompose organic matter, break down nutrients, and fertilize the soil. There are, however, some that can cause serious harm if allowed to enter the body through scratches, grazes, cuts, and scrapes.
You can reduce the risk of some of these infections by wearing gloves for garden work:
Rose gardener’s disease
Sepsis is a type of infection that is introduced to the body through cuts and scratches, particularly when you are handling garden soil, fertilizer containing animal manure, or mulch. If sepsis enters your bloodstream, it can result in an inflammatory response, which can escalate further and cause life-threatening conditions like septic shock and organ failure. If sepsis isn’t treated quickly, it can also result in death in severe cases.
Tetanus is another common and well-known infection associated with gardening injuries and is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. It usually occurs through contamination of cuts and scrapes caused by gardening tools or rose thorns. The symptoms of tetanus include stiffness, cramps, weakness, and muscle paralysis in the jaw. Tetanus is preventable through vaccination.
Legionnaire’s disease, also known as legionellosis, is a form of pneumonia that is caused by legionella, a type of bacteria that thrives in moist conditions. Transmission of this disease is air-borne, which occurs when people breathe in the bacteria while working with potting mix, soil, or compost. The elderly are especially susceptible to this disease due to their suppressed immune systems. So, along with the best leather gloves for gardening, it is also often recommended that you wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling any harmful particles.
Melioidosis comes from a type of soil bacteria that rises to the surface after it rains. It can enter your body through cuts and grazes. Some health experts report that it can also enter through drinking contaminated water or even inhaling. Shortness of breath, fever, headache, and cough are some common symptoms associated with this infection, some of which may take up to three weeks to develop. Wearing gardening gloves and waterproof boots are some effective preventative measures.
Sporotrichosis, also known as rose gardener’s disease, is an infection caused by a fungus known as Sporothrix schenckii. It is found in soil as well as on plant matter, including decaying vegetation, rose bushes, twigs, and hay. The symptoms of this infection can affect the skin, lungs, bones, and joints in your body. You can safeguard yourself from it by protecting your hands against cuts, scrapes, and grazes by wearing gardening gloves.
In addition to protecting you against these infections, gardening gloves also have a range of other uses and benefits. You can wear them to load your wood stove and open jars. They can also protect you against insect bites and poisonous plants.
Gardening is an excellent way to keep your physical and mental health in good condition. It is, however, also important for you to keep in mind that there are some risks associated with sticking your bare hands in the soil. If you choose to dig dirt or plant flowers without any gloves on, you could make yourself more vulnerable to various threats to your health, ranging from minor scratches to major infections like sepsis and tetanus. So, before you begin your gardening adventures this summer, make sure you invest in a pair of good quality gardening or utility gloves.
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