Personal Protective Equipment for Gardening
09 May 2020 - Flaaim
One wouldn’t think you need personal protective equipment for gardening, but you do in fact need it. Working with the earth is a relaxing and meditative thing to do but it can take its toll on your body.
It’s one of those projects where before you know it, you’ve spent 3 to 4 hours outside and when you come in your shoulders and arms are burned from the sun, along with your head and nose. That doesn’t include the damage that you’ve done to your knees (i.e., calluses), hands and nails. If you want go to garden for anything other than snipping a few herbs for dinner, plan on wearing personal protective equipment.
Plan on wearing a scarf or better yet, a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun from beating down on your neck and face.
Wear sun screen (SPF 30+ or greater) on your face, and place extra on your nose.
Avoid touching your face while outside gardening. You don’t want to expose your eyes or skin to any of the natural chemicals in plants or the synthesized chemical compounds in fertilizers, etc. Instead, keep a clean cloth hooked to your pants for wiping your face.
Neck, Shoulders and Arms
Rub the sunscreen all around your neck and shoulders. If it’s hot outside, try to wear a length cotton shirt at least to keep the sun from bearing down on your shoulders and arms while you are outside.
Wear gloves if possible. They can be cumbersome, but they will protect your hands and nail beds. Soil is very drying to both your hands and nails. It also has bacteria that you don’t want getting into any cuts on your hands or in your cuticles.
Wear sunscreen on your hands, just in case the gloves come off at any time.
After gardening, treat yourself to some hand care. Wash your hands and arms thoroughly with a moisturizing soap and apply some cuticle oil to your cuticles. Moisturize your hands and arms. After the cuticle oil is thoroughly absorbed and your nails are dry, apply a nail hardener for the next time to plan to do any gardening.
Wear long pants if possible to protect your knees from calluses. Also use a knee cushion or knee pads to protect your knees from Gardener’s Knee, a form of knee bursitis that can occur when working excessively on your knees. If you do injure the bursa sack that sits at the front of the knee, apply RICE therapy. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Wearing the proper shoes and socks are absolutely essential when gardening. Considerations when selecting shoes and socks include the following:
- Select shoes with a rounded toe to prevent toe blisters and to avoid causing problems such as ingrown toenails. This will also help avoid bunions and corns.
- To soften the absorption of pain through the entire body when stepping on a stone or over rocky terrain, wear shoes with rubber soles.
- Avoid wearing socks with tight elastic in any part, which will constrain blood flow to your feet. Socks made of a cotton blend or lycra are recommended.
- Socks can also prevent calluses from forming on the top of your feet when kneeling.
Now you are ready! Enjoy your time in the garden!