Put Your Green Thumb to Work without a Sore Back

Weed out injuries while gardening

Gardening has grown into one of Canada's most popular activities in recent years as a growing number of us discover the pleasures and rewards of a beautiful landscape. But exercising your green thumb does come with some risks. A day of digging, weeding and watering can also lead to injury when proper safety precautions are not followed.

Here are some steps to help prevent and treat common gardening injuries:

Protect Yourself

• Safety goggles and gloves shield eyes and skin from chemicals and pesticides and protect from sharp or motorized equipment.

• Several hours spent in the sun can lead to sunburn and increased chances of skin cancer. Choose a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher and seek a shade break between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

• While watering your plants, don't forget to water yourself. Drink plenty of liquids, but avoid alcohol or sugary beverages that can lead to dehydration.

• Use lightweight hand tools with rubber handles and ergonomic designs. Tools with offset handles make digging and weeding easier. Keep tools maintained as sharp, clean tools work better and require less effort. Handle extenders and reachers can help reduce the need for bending, reaching and stretching.

Treating common injuries

Even when following these precautions gardeners can still feel back and knee pain, bumps, bruises, scrapes and bites during long days of tending to their backyard haven. So it's a good idea to keep a summer essentials first aid kit on hand to treat common injuries when gardening and for outdoor family activities:

• At the first sign of pain or bruising look to a homeopathic topical medicine such as Arnicare gel or cream to help relieve muscle and joint pain and ease resorption of swelling and bruising. Try it for neck, back, shoulder and leg muscle pain, swelling from injuries, and bruising.

• For skin irritations, Cicadermine, a homeopathic ointment can help relieve redness and facilitate healing.

• For stings and bug bites, try Dapis gel for relief. It's a non-greasy and paraben-free gel that relieves itching and promotes the healing of insect bites.

• Don't let seasonal allergies dampen your love for flowers. A non-drowsy and antihistamine-free medicine, such as Sabalia, can help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Keep in mind, these homeopathic medicines may not be right for everyone, always read and follow the label. By following a few precautions, you can make this gardening season a safe and pleasant one.

More information on treating pain related to gardening can be found at www.boiron.ca.

(NC) www.newscanada.com

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