10 Ways to Protect yourself while Working Outside

working outsideWorking outside can be a dangerous job. Most of the time you’re working with sharp tools and exposed to the hot sun for long periods of time. In order to stay healthy and robust so you can work on your garden or lawn more, you need to take care of your body.

I’ve found that the following gets me through a hot day working out in the yard:

  1. Wear closed-toed shoes–that means you, ladies. It’s easy and cooler to wear flip-flops, but you risk slicing your foot on a tool or stepping on a bee and getting stung.
  2. Keep a water bottle (preferably insulated) of iced tea, lemonade, or water nearby and drink from it whenever you have even a little bit of thirst. You’ll not only stay hydrated and last outside longer, but taking a sip every few minutes will be a refreshing break.
  3. Wear a large-brimmed hat. The wide brim will protect some of your most sensitive areas–your face and neck–from burning in the sun. I learned this one the hard way, losing nice day outside to puking inside from sun stroke. Yuck.
  4. Whenever you’re using loud power tools such as a lawnmower or chipper, make sure you protect your ears with protective earmuffs. You may look silly, but your ears will thank you later.
  5. Wear eye-protection as well. In the garden, this can be as simple as putting on a pair of sunglasses in sunny weather. If you are using machinery where debris flies everywhere, please put on a pair of safety glasses as well.
  6. Wear lightweight clothing. Light colors are best to keep cool so you may want to dedicate some of your old clothes to wear while working outside.
  7. Slather sunscreen on the parts of your body that are exposed 20 to 30 minutes before going outside. This is true for just going out every day, but especially when you’re out in the sun for prolonged periods of time. I know I’m not as good as I should be with this one–it’s a difficult one to remember and can sometimes be a pain. It is so important, though.
  8. Put on a pair of gardening gloves to protect yourself against rashes. This will help when it comes time to cleaning your hands as well. Gloves have been a lifesaver for me when it comes to pruning our raspberry and blackberry bushes.
  9. Check yourself for ticks when you get back indoors and take a shower soon afterwards as well. You’ll want to be especially sure to check the back of your knees, under your arms, your waist, inside your belly button, between your legs, in your hair, and in and around your ears. Ticks can cause diseases such as Lyme disease.
  10. Take a break every once and awhile, especially if you feel dizzy. Listen to your body and eat when you need to and sit for a few minutes. You will be more productive in the long run.

Not all of these things are cool or look cool, but they will protect your from early aging, hearing loss, and even cancer. When you think about it that way it makes it worth it, doesn’t it?

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