I ran into a friend the other day at the local Home Improvement centre. This friend has her own landscaping company and was on a mission to buy some gloves. She was just recovering from a terrible infection that she got the week before as a result of being pricked by thorns while she was busy pruning. Within a day of her being pricked her finger swelled up and was red and puffy. As it was throbbing and seemed to be getting worse she decided that she had best visit the doctor. The doctor told her antibiotics were in order and without them he was concerned that this terrible infection could turn into flesh-eating disease!! So she is now taking antibiotics 4 times a day and has learned the hard way that gardening without the gloves appropriate for the task at hand could actually be dangerous, very dangerous. Who knew??
This got me to thinking, what other hazards are lurking in the garden?
Getting a cut or scrape can result in a nasty infection. There are some dangerous bacteria lurking in the soil that could end up causing you long term pain and suffering. Clostridium tetani, for example, is a bacteria found in soil and dust. It can enter the body through a cut, toxins are produced and then circulated through the blood and lymph system. Tetnus, as it’s commonly called, can result in nervous system damage, seizures and even death. Sporotrichosis (also known as “Rose Gardener’s disease”) is a disease caused by the infection of the fungus Sporothrix schenckii. It can also enter your body via a wound. Symptoms of this form include bumps in the skin, at the point of entry and also along lymph nodes and vessels. The lesion starts off small and painless, and ranges in color from pink to purple. Left untreated, the lesion becomes larger and looks similar to a boil and more lesions will appear, until a chronic ulcer develops.
If you get jabbed with a thorn, remove any thorn remains embedded in the skin and then clean the area completely with soap. Keep a sharp eye on your wound and if you observe signs of infection (increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness, red streaks leading from the wound, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin, or fever), seek medical attention.
Prevention is clearly the safest way to avoid gardening infection hazards and the number one way to do that is to wear gloves. A word of warning though, stay away from those cheapy cotton gloves as they really don’t protect you from much. If you’re pruning choose leather gloves, especially the longer gauntlet models that will also protect your forearms. If you’re digging in the soil, latex or nitrile gloves will keep your hands dry and clean. A fairly small investment in hand protection will be sure to pay off with a worry free gardening season. Be sure to check out our new gardening gloves this season: 198 Fresh Air, 309 Carrot Tops, 312 Got Dirt, 327 Groovy, Baby, 6163 Splish and Splash
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