Have you ever gone out to your garden and started asking yourself whether you should wear your gardening gloves? I usually ask this before, but I no longer do. Now, I personally believe that wearing gloves is a must when gardening. There are a lot of reasons why we should wear gloves. Let me tell you five of them.
Among many others, wearing gloves in the garden can protect you from:
- Insect Bites – insects can be really nasty when caught off-guard, and when you surprise them while working, you might just be in for a painful surprise.
- Tetanus – if you think you can only get them from animal bites, well you must know tetanus bacteria are commonly present in soil, dirt, and manure.
- Cuts and Scrapes – working with thorns and thistles, there is no escaping from these garden blades.
- Weather – gardening means working whether it’s hot or cold and the weather has a tendency to be extreme from time to time.
- Soil-Related Diseases – your plants are not the only one in danger when we talk about infection, there are several soil-related diseases you can get when gardening without gloves.
- Chemicals & Fertilizers – while they make your plants healthy, they are definitely harmful for you.
- Keeping Your Hands Clean – this is given, nobody wants to get dirty and exposed to harmful chemicals.
Here they are in more detail.
Gardens are home to all kinds of insects that sometimes can be a headache to gardeners, but you might be surprised to know that while a tenth of them are harmful, most are beneficial to your garden. Insects like ladybugs, praying mantises, spiders, and green lacewing are predator insects that eliminate harmful pests that terrorize your plants’ haven. They are essential to your thriving garden. But when gardening, it is best to be cautious when working as these insects can cause serious harm when surprised.
There was a case in 2009 of an Ontario woman bitten by a black widow spider while gardening. This is definitely something to look out for when doing your regular garden inspection and cleaning. And this is also one of the reasons why you should wear gloves when gardening. There are a lot of unsuspecting insects that you can surprise while you are working.
When gardening, you are at the risk of tetanus since you are working with soils rich in manure and other organic matters. Your dogs and cats or even other animals in your garden can be carriers of tetanus bacteria spores through their feces. As these animals loiter around in your garden, they can leave their poop anywhere. Something you can get in contact with as you tend to your lawn.
Without protective gloves, you can easily get cuts and abrasions while gardening. Tetanus occurs when this wound becomes contaminated with bacterial spores. Tetanus can develop in three to 21 days after contamination. The shorter the incubation period, the higher the chance of death. This is definitely a serious thing you must remember when you go out into your garden and choose not to wear your gloves.
Cuts and Scrapes
Among the injuries that you can get while gardening, the most common are cuts and scrapes. How many times have you been scratched while pruning or pricked by rose thorns? It’s so easy to get these cuts and scrapes as you tend to your garden with exposed skin. Unfortunately, while they may look small and harmless, these injuries can be the opening through which bacteria and fungi can enter your body.
It’s important to observe your cuts and scrapes for possible infection, and when these symptoms appear, it’s best to consult your doctor:
- Redness near the irritation site
- Redness that expands beyond the cut or scrape
- Skin that’s warm to the touch
- Swollen lymph nodes
Avoid cuts and scrapes by wearing protective gloves when gardening. The additional layers can prove to be a significant form of defense against injuries like these.
Tending to your garden is not exclusive to specific seasons of the year. To maintain your plants and lawn, you have to work all year round, even during cold and wet seasons. Imagine working in your garden during the cold season with nothing to protect your hands? In fact, some gloves might not even help during this difficult weather. It takes a specific type of gloves to combat cold and wet weather so you can still be comfortable while gardening.
Even during sunny days, you need to wear your gloves. It is never good to expose your skin to the scorching heat of the sun, and gardening can take a lot of time. It can cause painful sunburn and make your hands dry. During rainy days, gloves are still a must. You may not be exposed to the sun but your fatigued hands from working will not appreciate unprotected exposure to the sudden cold rainwater.
There are many diseases you can get while gardening, especially when you are wounded and your skin is exposed. This is not to scare you away from gardening but consider this a necessary reminder for you to think about the next time you schedule a visit to your garden.
- Legionellosis is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any type of Legionella bacteria. There is a species of legionella that can be transmitted when people breathe in legionella bacteria through dust or liquid droplets while working with soil, compost, or potting mix products. Elderly gardeners or those with suppressed immune systems are the most vulnerable of this. It is highly encouraged not only to use gloves but dust masks too.
- Animal manure, which makes our plants healthy, can also harm us. According to Mark Blaskovich, senior research officer at the University of Queensland, “Bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, and Listeria monocytogenes are often present in gardens as a result of using cow, horse, chicken or other animal manure.” Infections from these bacteria can lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition that can cause organ failure and, sadly, death.
- Rose Gardener’s Disease or Sporotrichosis is an infection caused by a fungus called Sporothrix. This fungus lives throughout the world in soil and on plant matter such as rose bushes, and hay, something you might have in your garden. People get sporotrichosis by coming in contact with the fungal spores in the environment which is another reason why you should wear gloves.
Chemicals & Fertilizers
Commercially produced fertilizers contain chemicals which include ammonium sulfate, potassium chloride, potash, phosphoric acid, sulfur, lime, and other salts. These chemicals can burn and damage your skin, eyes, and lungs. It is therefore highly encouraged to not only put on protective clothing including gloves but also to wash yourself and clothing properly to get rid of them.
Keeping Your Hands Clean
This may be the simplest but often forgotten reason why we use gloves. Without gloves, we are directly in contact with soil, weeds, garbage, and even animal poop. Regularly maintaining the garden with necessary tools will also cause our hands, especially the inside part of our point finger, to get dry. Sores and cracks are also possible with our hands exposed to dirt, organic matters, and harmful chemicals. Always make it a habit to wash your hands properly and thoroughly after gardening, even with your gloves on but more so when it’s not.
Keep your hands in great shape and make sure they are protected as you tend to your garden. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and in this case, you won’t lose anything by being prepared. As you take good care of your garden, don’t forget to take care of your hands too.