|Gardening & Your Health, Carpal Tunnel||
Gardening with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be very difficult, especially when a long day of shoveling, raking, or weed pulling leaves you with a painful or "tingling" hand or wrist. These aches and pains are often caused in part by improper techniques or tools used in gardening.
|May 1, 2009||426-060|
|Gardening and Your Health: Arthritis||
For individuals suffering from arthritis, gardening can be a great exercise and stress reducer when done correctly. In fact, gardening is an excellent activity for maintaining joint flexibility, range of motion, and quality of life.
Arthritis is a disease that causes inflamed joints. The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is characterized by a degeneration of joint tissue, which can lead to pain and stiffness in the joints. The cartilage that protects the ends of bones wears away. It is most commonly seen in fingers, hips, knees, feet, and the spine but can affect any joint, and is characterized by stiffness, pain, and a loss of mobility.
|May 1, 2009||426-062|
|Gardening and Your Health: Plant Allergies||
Allergic reactions are caused by an overactive immune system response to a foreign substance such as pollen, dust, or molds. When this reaction affects the eyes or nose, it results in allergic rhinitis. Typical symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy watery eyes. When an inflammation affects the bronchial tubes, it results in asthma. Typical symptoms include wheezing and shortness of breath.
|May 1, 2009||426-067|
|Gardening and Your Health: Protecting Your Hands and Feet||
The skin on hands and feet is like most ornamental plants. Neither likes the extremes of being dried out or kept too wet. Treat skin as tenderly as the most sensitive plants and safeguard your horticultural health.
|May 1, 2009||426-061|
|Gardening and Your Health: Protecting Your Knees and Back||
Many gardening tasks require knee strength and stability, whether kneeling, sitting, standing, or walking. The best way to protect knees from the stress and strain is to condition them with strengthening exercises and stretching.
The muscles that protect the knees are the quadriceps (front of thighs) and the hamstrings (back of the thighs). To ease strain on the knees, practice strengthening exercises regularly, and stretch before starting gardening activities. Your doctor should recommend specific exercises and stretches that are appropriate for you.
|May 1, 2009||426-065|
|Gardening and Your Health: Summer Heat||
Obviously hot weather has adverse effects on plants, but what about the adverse effects on gardeners? Is human heat stress not of equal or greater importance?
To understand how to reduce or minimize heat stress or heat-related illnesses, one must first understand what causes heat stress and when it is most likely to occur. Heat stress occurs when the body is unable to get rid of excess body heat by its normal exhaust methods - either from sweat evaporation, or from increased blood circulation to the skin surface where body heat can escape through radiation.
|May 1, 2009||426-064|
|Gardening and Your Health: Sunburn & Skin Cancer||
Most people have suffered from at least one bad sunburn. The beginning of a sunburn is shown by hot, pink skin. Later comes swelling, burning pain, and possibly blistering. As the burn leaves, peeling inevitably appears. Peeling means that the skin is thickening up to protect itself from further sun damage. If burned skin continues to get exposed to sun, damage can't be repaired. Even if damage is not visible, skin cells mutate with each sun exposure. Over a lifetime these mutations may add up to cancer, a problem seen on gardeners who work unprotected in the sun. A severe sunburn is one of the biggest risk factors in getting a melanoma skin cancer.
|May 1, 2009||426-063|
|Gardening and Your Health: Ticks||
During early spring and summer, as the weather warms up and the garden springs back to life from its winter dormancy, many gardeners -- and ticks -- eagerly return to their outdoor activities. Gardeners should be aware of the risks and know how to protect themselves from becoming hosts to disease-carrying ticks.
|May 1, 2009||426-066|