Yardwork Safety Tips

Yardwork Safety Tips

The snow has melted, the sun is out and your grass is (almost) green. As you begin to pull out your yard tools to start landscaping for the spring and summer months, there are some precautions worth noting. Here are some yardwork obstacles, and recommendations about how to stay healthy, from one of the doctors on AmwellDr. Terese Roth. 

Poisonous Plants

When exposed to your skin, poisonous plants can cause severe itching, swelling and redness. Symptoms usually develop within four hours to four days after exposure. The best way to prevent this kind of reaction is to avoid making contact with the plants. You can do this by wearing long sleeves and pants, as well as heavy, vinyl gloves.

If you are exposed to poisonous plants, useful at-home remedies may include: 

  • Rinsing skin with rubbing alcohol, soap, or detergent, and water
  • Washing underneath your nails 
  • Soothing the skin using wet compresses, calamine lotion, or hydrocortisone cream
  • Taking an antihistamine (like Benadryl) to reduce itching 
  • Speaking to a doctor on Amwell

Muscle strains

Sometimes yardwork can be just as intense as any workout at the gym, which is why it is good to take extra precautions when it comes to taking care of your body. Muscle injuries can occur when a muscle gets stretched too quickly or too much. Strains can cause pain, swelling, and bruising. To treat muscle strains:

  • Pause on the yardwork or take frequent breaks if you start to feel muscle pain or fatigue
  • Rest and avoid movements that cause pain
  • Apply ice or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a thin towel to the affected area. Do this every one to two hours for 10 to 15 minutes at a time

Cuts and Puncture Wounds 

Tree branches, thorns, and even your yard tools may cause some cuts and scrapes. These wounds are characterized by breaks in the skin that often cause bleeding. To treat these minor injuries you can:

  • Wash the affected area with soap and water
  • Apply a thin layer of antibacterial ointment 
  • Cover the area with a clean, dry bandage

Make sure you watch for signs of infection, which may include:

  • Redness, swelling, or warmth around the injury
  • Pus draining from the wound
  • Fever
  • Red streaks on the skin surrounding the injury

Snake Bites

Usually snakes are relatively harmless, but some are venomous and their bites can be dangerous. If you do get bitten, try not to panic! Remember that these bites can be treated in the emergency room, which you should visit right away. You may also want to: 

  • Note the color, size, and shape of the snake to describe to your healthcare provider 
  • Restrict movement and keep the affected area below your heart 
  • Take off any rings or tight items in case there is swelling

As you begin to venture outside, remember that doctors on Amwell are always available to answer questions and/or see you online for non life-threatening medical concerns. 

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