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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The do's and don’ts of sun-safe gardening
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This summer has been one for the record books! With temperatures soaring — and showing no signs of letting up — tending to your garden can become troublesome this time of year. Gardening is a great way and enjoy the outdoors, but in the heat of the summer, be sure to stay safe and protected from the heat.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you stay healthy while tending to your plants.

Do's

  • Hydrate! Flowers and vegetables aren’t the only ones that will wilt in high temperatures. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water before and during your outdoor activities. Avoid drinking liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar, as these can cause you to actually lose more body fluid. Don’t forget about eating fruits and vegetables high in water content, such as watermelon (92% water), celery (95% water) and cucumber (96% water), which can help keep you hydrated as well.

  • Decrease your skin’s exposure to the sun by wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Wear breathable, light-colored cotton clothing, a large-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

  • Protect yourself from bug bites by using an insect repellent. Long sleeves and gloves also can help protect you from insects.

Don’ts

  • Avoid gardening when the sun is at its strongest. This means between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is high and temperatures are at their peak. If you are gardening midday, do follow shady spots around your yard to decrease sun exposure and take frequent breaks. Or bring along a spray bottle of water to cool you down while you work. Spray your wrists first to quickly cool your body temperature.

  • Ignoring you’re body’s response to the heat is dangerous. Get familiar with the symptoms of heat stroke, such as red, hot and dry skin, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing or unconsciousness, as well as the symptoms of sun poisoning, such as red or blistered skin, fever and chills, nausea or headache. If you notice these signs, get out of the sun and seek medical attention.

  • Pushing yourself if you feel fatigued is a bad idea. Know your limits — your garden will still be there tomorrow!


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