by Emily DeLeo

Spring has sprung! Now is the time to start buying your plants and flowers and begin to enjoy all the health benefits of gardening. You should also be aware of some simple safety precautions you can take when working in your yard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put together a list of safe gardening tips:

• Dress to protect yourself from insects, chemicals and machinery. Long pants, long sleeves, gloves and sturdy shoes are a must. Eye protection is important if using power equipment.

• Reduce your skin cancer risk by wearing sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.

• Check your immunization record. Adults should get a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccination every ten years. Tetanus lives in soil and can enter your bloodstream through cuts or breaks in your skin, eventually causing “lockjaw.” Gardeners are at risk since they have their hands in the soil and often handle sharp tools or plants.

Keep our neighborhood beautiful with your flowers and your gardens. Keep yourself healthy and safe too! For more information go to and click on “Health and Safety Guide for Gardeners.”

Emily DeLeo is Community Health Liaison for Riverwest Health Initiative. She can be reached at 263-8383 x.139.

Riverwest Currents online edition – May, 2007