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Gardening rewards and hazards

General, Immune | December 13, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

Immune, general

Gardening rewards and hazards

Gardening is an enjoyable, rewarding pastime experienced by many people of different ages but gardeners may not be aware of the potential hazards lurking in the garden. Snakes, insects, diving magpies and accidental injuries sit alongside of other more sinister, potential lethal pathogens found in the soil.

Gardening is rewarding

Time spent in the garden has so many health rewards that are worth mentioning:

Vitamin DVitamin D. It may seem unbelievable but a lot of Australians are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed for bone growth, immune function, neuromuscular communication, to reduce inflammation and to modulate the growth of cells. Enjoying time in the garden can help increase your D levels. It it is still important to apply sunblock and be wise about how much time you spend in the sun.
See Cancer Council Australia The SunSmart UV Alert for guidelines.

Fitness. Gardening can be a very physical activity; racking, sweeping, pushing a mower and pulling out weeds etc which can contribute to your daily exercise quota, keeping joints limber, encouraging bone density, supporting muscle tone and cardiovascular health. 

Happiness. Gardening has been found to have a positive effect on mental health. Not only the act of doing something pleasurable, but also the responsibility of caring for other lliving things, brings out the nurturer in people no matter who they are, and helps to release those feel good hormones.

Maintaining the garden can give you a reason for getting up in the morning - very rewarding!

Relaxation. A great way to eliminate stress after a day in the office is spending time in the garden. Pushing the mower or digging holes can be a great way of burning out pent up stress, by reducing cortisol and increasing seratonin and dopamine. Trimming some bushes, a bit of weeding and watering in the garden are gentle, passive ways of stress relief.

Family time. Gardening is rewardingWhat a lovely opportunity to spend time with your family pottering around in the garden. Time spend together planning, visiting the garden centres and then working together to achieve your goals.

Education. Little folk enjoy helping out in the garden and being able to eat food they have helped grow teaches them about where our fruits and vegetables come from.

To the Table. Organic fruits and vegetables! there is nothing like fresh food from the garden straight to the kitchen. It just tastes better! Share excesses with neighbours for community spirit.

Value. Not to mention the rewarding visually appearance, added value to the home and opportunity to catch up with the neighbours as they pursue their own gardening activities

If you haven’t got a garden try some potted plants around the home, help a friend or someone in need.

Gardening Hazards

The stuff to beware of:

  • Dehydration
  • Sunburn
  • Snakes, ticks, spiders and birds protecting their nest
  • Inhaled hazards
  • Soil
  • Safety hazards

Gardening hazardsDehydration. Seems obvious I know but it is easy to become dehydrated when happily working in the garden. Its not only the plants that get thirsty.

On a hot day it might be beneficial to use an electrolyte formula or drink coconut water if working hard in the garden.

Electrolytes contain sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium and sometimes glucose to very quickly replete lost fluids.
Click Here for Article on Dehydration

Sunburn. Avoid skin damage by regularly applying sunscreen and wearing skin protecting clothing (they’re not just for the pool). A broad brimmed hat with a high sunblock rating will not only reduce skin damage potential, but will also help protect you from dive bombing birds. Check the cancer council of Australia website for daily sun protection times and avoid prolonged sun exposure. You can still get sun damage on cool, cloudy and windy days.
Click Here For Article on Sun Spots.

Creatures. We live in a country that has an abundance of potentially deadly creatures so it is important to be aware, especially whilst in the garden to be visual, use gardening equipment, appropriate foot wear, cover bare skin and wear gardening gloves. Apply a topical insecticide or tea tree oil cream to reduce risk. Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) has been found to have acaricidal properties.  Tea tree can also be used for cuts and abrasions or insect bites to help reduce the risk of infection, itching and inflammation.
Click Here For Article on Ticks
Click Here For Article on Tea tree oil

Dangers lurking in the soil

Tetanus is an acute disease that can be fatal. It is caused by toxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani found in soil and manure. The toxins enter the body through open wounds in the skin; toxins attack the central nervous system causing spasms of the neck and jaw muscles also known as Lockjaw. As the toxins spread breathing may become difficult, abnormal heart rhythm and painful convulsions.

Prevention is obtained by regular immunizations. Information about immunization is available at

Dangers lurking in the soilPathogens and parasites can be found in cow manure used in the garden. Manure needs to be composed well to produce heat to kill off pathogens. Pathogens such as salmonella, listeria and E.coli and parasites - roundworms and tapeworms, have been linked to uncomposted manure. Avoid placing fresh cow manure around fruit trees and vegetables to avoid contaminating food.

Legionnaires' disease is an infection of the lung caused when Legionella bacteria from dust or water vapour is breathed in.  The bacteria are found where there is warm stagnant water and in potting mix. Legionella longbeachae is the bacteria found in potting mix.

Infection with Legionella bacteria resembling the symptoms of pneumonia; fevers, chills, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, with appetite loss and diarrhoea. People will recover from this infection but it can be fatal.

Protect yourself from infection by following manufactures warnings on packs of potting mix. NSW Government Health department suggest:

  • Wetting down the potting mix to reduce the dust
  • Wearing gloves and a P2 mask when using potting mix
  • Washing your hands after handling potting mix or soil, and before eating, drinking or smoking.

Workplace safety in the Garden

Having a safe working environment means being aware potential hazardsWorkplace safety in the garden

  • Regular maintenance of electrical equipment
  • Clean and oil of gardening tools
  • Safe operating practices of equipment
  • Store equipment safely during and after use
  • Wear protective clothing such as gloves and masks especially when using potting mix and working in soil
  • Check for wasp and wasp nest and take care around bees

Enjoy your gardening just remember to take care. Australia’s best online discount chemist


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