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Safe gardening tips (from suncreen to bug bites to first aid)

Jul 13, 2012, 8:35 a.m.

Gardening is a good way to get some exercise while beautifying your property. Plus, it's so satisfying to see your efforts bloom and flourish year after year. However, gardening -- even home gardening -- is not without its hazards. Make sure to stay safe this season by following these simple tips:

  1. Avoid the middle of the day. It's easy to ignore the sun when you're busy planting or weeding. But, the dangers of too much sun include sunburn, skin cancer and heat exhaustion. Make the sun your friend by always wearing sunscreen when you garden and avoiding gardening during the middle of the day -- from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. -- when the sun's rays are the most intense.
  2. Guard against mosquitos. Mosquitos are more than just pesky. They can spread West Nile Virus, a neurological disease that can cause nausea, vomiting, and fatigue that lasts for up to two months. Avoid getting bitten by mosquitos by staying indoors during the early dawn and dusk hours when mosquitos are the most active, by covering your arms and legs, and by using an insect repellant that contains DEET.
  3. Dig and lift using your legs. It seems like there's always something heavy to be moved in a garden. It might be a tree, a bag of mulch or a ceramic pot. Avoid back injuries by using your legs to do the heavy lifting. Never bend from your waist to pick up something heavy in the garden. It's a sure recipe for a back injury.

Gardening can be relaxing and rewarding. Make sure to stay safe this growing season.

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