Couple gardening
June 7, 2017 | by The Polyclinic

This article was originally published in Premera’s Medicare Advantage newsletter.

Colorful flowers, fresh vegetables, and plenty of warm sunshine. Gardening is a great way to be active during the spring and summer. But there are a few things to keep in mind while you’re out in the garden.

Enjoy a happy and healthy summer with these top tips.

  1. Protect your skin.
    Always use sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Long sleeves, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses add an extra layer of protection from sunburns and skin cancer.
  2. Stay cool and hydrated.
    A little bit of sun is good for you, but humid temperatures can make you sick. Keep energized by drinking plenty of water and taking breaks in the shade. Seek immediate medical care for symptoms like a fast pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or lightheadedness.
  3. Watch your back.
    Gardening can be hard work that tires out your muscles and joints. Don’t push it, especially if you haven’t been active lately. Pace yourself instead of trying to finish big projects all in one day.
  4. Remember your tetanus shot.
    It’s possible to get a tetanus infection if you cut yourself with gardening tools. Check with your primary care provider to make sure that your tetanus/diphtheria (Td) shot is up to date before getting into the garden.
  5. Manage seasonal allergies.
    Spending time in the garden can be uncomfortable for people with allergies, says Seattle Polyclinic allergist Vinod Doreswamy, MD. Garden for short stints, wear a mask, and shower when you come inside to limit your pollen exposure. Consider staying indoors on days when the pollen count is high.

Taking these steps can help keep your symptoms from flaring up, Doreswamy says.

About Premera Blue Cross

Premera Blue Cross

Premera Blue Cross is an HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Premera Blue Cross depends on contract renewal. Coverage for Premera Medicare Advantage HMO plans includes prescription drugs, doctor and specialist visits, hospital stays and preventive exams – all of which are important for you to maintain your good health. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Premera has been in the Northwest community for more than 80 years, providing comprehensive and tailored services to customers in Washington.