If you’re not careful this summer, your backyard could send you to the emergency room! Here’s a list of backyard hazards – and how to protect yourself. This comes from Prevention magazine:
- Tiny pools of water. For example, maybe your kid left a little bit of water in their plastic bucket or there are puddles of water on your pool cover. Why is this a problem? Because even the smallest amount of standing water can give mosquitoes a place to multiply, and this raises your risk of mosquito bites – and even infections such as West Nile virus. Mosquitoes can also carry diseases like malaria and yellow fever. The fix? Do a weekly check of things like buckets and plastic covers, and dump any water to keep pests away.
- Pesticide residue. Misusing these bug-killing chemicals can make you sick. Dr. Jennifer Sass is a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She feels that homeowners often use too many pesticides – conventional or natural – or apply them incorrectly. In extreme cases, this allows chemical levels to get high enough to cause flulike symptoms. The fix? Cut down on pests naturally by attracting birds and insects that eat the bugs that are attacking your prized roses. For example, you can install a birdhouse designed for bluebirds – which feed on insects. You can also grow plants that attract “predatory insects” – they don’t hurt plants or people, but they destroy the bugs that do. Try plants in the parsley and sunflower families.
- Your deck can be a backyard hazard! If you don’t water-proof your deck every two to three years, moisture can seep in and warp the wood – increasing your risk for falls. The fix? Inspect your deck and look for splits and cracks – which are signs that moisture has gotten in. In the future, you should do this every spring, and if you can easily penetrate a quarter of an inch to half an inch of the wood with a screwdriver or ice pick, the wood should be replaced.