Looking outside, everything is vibrating with new life as the snow has finally disappeared. The magnolia tree has begun the resurgence of fuzzy buds, reminiscent of pussywillows. The redbud tree is starting to pink up, the daffodils are indeed beginning to surface through the chicken wire and the clematis, I thought was dead, shows signs of resurrection. Ah, Spring, when a young girl’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love…of gardening.

Searching the garden for anything that will give me an excuse to get out and “root and snort”, there it is. The sign. A teeny, weenie violet is the first to show its sweet little face, right there in the middle of a pile of decaying leaves.

As I head inside to gather my tools, I hear my beloved JO (the Infection Control Specialist) reminding me, “Put something on your feet and don’t forget your gloves!”

Like my sister, my Mother and her Mother before her, I am happiest in the garden. It is my sanctuary. I just can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt, feeling the warm soil between my fingers. Gloves?

Well, in truth, a well-fitting pair of garden gloves, whether they come from the dollar store or the local garden center, allows the same feeling of closeness with nature, but helps protect you from all the germs present in the soil. Germs?

Just think, some animal in your neighborhood has used your lovely garden as a litter box and many intestinal worms are now call it home. Yuck! My beautiful garden doesn’t feel quite so inviting.

While gloves cannot protect your hands 100% from these ever present germ hitchhikers, they may spare your tender skin from ten minutes of being scrubbed with a brush to get the dirt out from under your nails. Yes, we’ve heard of scraping a bar of soap with our fingernails to help prevent the collection of dirt, but who really does it?

What kind of bugs are we talking about? Well, we’re talking about lots of different gut pathogens (disease causing germs) that come from the feces (poop) of wild and domestic animals; squirrels to chipmunks, raccoons to birds, cats to dogs.

There are also parasites present in dirt, like pin worms and toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is a parasite very dangerous to pregnant women that may infect the baby. Pin worms on the other hand are often discovered in children who like to eat dirt.

Skin scratches from rose bushes and other thorny vegetation can readily become infected with various dirt carried pathogens.

Gardening is good exercise and a great stress reliever, but don’t neglect to keep your hands and feet clean. Yes, your feet. Shoes are a must as well.

Cracks or wounds in your feet allow germs and tetanus can get in. Tetanus is not fun and lockjaw is unattractive. Tetanus is infection of the nervous system with a potentially deadly bacteria which may remain inactive in the soil, but can remain infectious for more than 40 years.

Germs found in dirt can contaminate wounds that you may get in the garden, especially if you step on your rake, not to mention being hit in the head.

But, perhaps the best reason to wear gloves and shoes is to maintain your manicure.

For a healthy and happy “diggin’ in the doit” kinda day; grab a bottle of water, sunscreen, take your hat and gloves and go outside. Breathe deep, sing loud and enjoy what nature has to offer.

And, if your garden is overflowing with things to share, call me.