Can You Get a Rash from Gardening? – What plants causes rash?

Can you get a rash from gardening

Can you get a rash from gardening?

Yes, you can get a rash from gardening. There are different agents that can be held responsible for this—excessive exposure to sunlight, bugs, poisonous plants, splashing cell sap, pointy edges of plants, etc.

How can you protect yourself from a rash breakout? Check out the following precautionary measures;

  1. Ensure that Your Body is Totally Covered Up

The garden is filled with different kinds of plants and weeds, some of which may contain more poison than the other.

Asides from the poison, the plants could contain thorns, spines, and cell sap that could either irritate or bruise the skin.

Wearing an overall with long sleeves, thick gloves (ones made out of either rubber or leather), socks, boots, etc. will help prevent these harmful substances from coming in contact with your body.

  1. Try to Garden When the Sun is Not Out

The best times to work in your garden are mornings and evenings when the atmosphere is still pretty cool. This strategy would protect you from skin issues like wrinkling, dark spots on the skin, cancer of the skin, etc.

If you however have to work through a sunny day, ensure that you apply sunscreen to your body. What sunscreen does is to protect you from the spectrum released from the sunlight.

It also pays to go for one that is resistant to water. All of these protective measures will protect you from heat strokes, heat rashes, etc.

  1. Take Precaution Against Garden Bugs 

This will go a long way in preventing rashes. Some of the precautionary measures you can take include spraying your clothes or overall with insect repellant.

Working powdery constitutions unto the clothes before you wear them is a safe option.

You can then go on to wear a face mask to prevent breathing the powder in. You could also shift your gardening to noon. By this time, bugs are hardly present in the fields.

They are most active in the morning and evenings. If you find a bug on your body though, make sure you do not squish it against your skin. Flick it off.

The last precaution would be to check your body carefully after you are done gardening for these bugs. Bugs are relatively tiny and can hide between your toes, under your arms, or along your hairline.

Stay safe. You should also ensure that you shower after working in the garden. If you hair’s massive or hard to wash, wearing a bonnet or hat while gardening will save you a lot of bug trouble.

  1. Check Labels of Fertilizers or Chemicals Before Using them

Before you work with fertilizers or chemicals for pest control, ensure you check what’s written on the labels first. Are there any warnings? Are they constituted with something you’re allergic to?

Make sure you have an answer to all of these details before working with them. Most of these fertilizers and chemicals have labels that instruct one to not breathe them in.

Others emphasize the use of gloves while they are being worked with. Follow the instructions. And when you are done, wash up.

  1. Keep Your Hands from Your Face as You Garden

Since you are not too sure of what you have touched or what has splashed unto your hands while gardening, it is recommended that you keep your hands away from your face.

If you have to wipe sweat off your face, work with towels tucked safely within your overall. You shouldn’t leave your towel lying carelessly about the field.

  1. Apply Treatment Immediately Anytime You Sight Bruises or Rashes on Your Skin

If you catch sight of bruises or rashes on your skin, make sure you apply treatment immediately. This same instructions apply to scenarios where something strange lands on your skin.

First of all, use soap and water to wash off the bruise, or affected area of your body. Next, rub in an antibiotic ointment. As a regular gardener, you should always have this around.

If it’s a bruise you are dealing with, you may need to fix bandages to the affected area.

If you have to go on with your gardening work, ensure that you keep the bandage protected by wearing new sets of gloves or overall. Ensure that you change the bandage frequently after that.

If it gets worse and you begin to have symptoms like itchy eyes, etc., don’t hesitate to visit your physician.

What garden plants cause skin rashes?

Once you find any of these plants in your garden, you should take extra care while handling them. Wearing protective overalls and gloves during this time will also go a long way.

These garden plants include the following;

Poison Ivy

This plant contains a compound known as urushiol which spurs rashes when in contact with the human skin.

These rashes usually appear few days after exposure after which the following occur—red skin, swelling of the affected area, blisters on the skin, etc.

Poison Oak

This plant also contains the harmful urushiol. So, once that comes in contact with your skin, you’d suffer the same effects as the one caused by Poison Ivy.

You should note that Poison Oak isn’t related to Oak trees though. It has deep green leaves and yellow flowers.

Poison Sumac

This plant also contains urushiol, which is the same allergen that is contained in Poison Ivy and Poison Oak. Poison Sumac has red stems and greenish-yellow flowers. The berries of this plant are grey and flat.

Wood Nettle

This plant is notorious for its stinging hairs. It grows in large dense patches and has its stems covered with stiff and white hairs. The leaves are a dark green with serrated edges and the flowers are white.

Stinging Nettle

This plant has green or purple stems. The leaves which are quite long with tapering ends bear stinging hairs which can spur rashes on the skin of anyone that comes in contact with them.

Other symptoms include hives. Stinging nettle also serves therapeutic purposes. For example, conditions like eczema and arthritis can be treated with stinging nettle.

Baby’s breath

This plant is more like a flower that exist atop real flowers like roses. They are only harmful when dry as they cause irritation of the eyes, nose, skin, etc. It can even trigger asthma in those that suffer from the condition.


This plant has glossy and green leaves and would release blue flowers early spring or summer. The issue about this plant is that they always look so good people get prompted to touch it.

However, the contact can cause issues like irritated skin, blisters, redness of the affected area, etc. Gloves must be worn by whoever handles leadwort.


This plant is known to cause sneezing fits and skin rashes. Other issues it spurs up include hay fever, rhinitis, red lines on the skin, swollen eyelids, etc.

The leaves of ragweed are usually green and occur in lobes of three and five.

Giant hogweed

The rashes cause by giant hogweed is usually very intense. Asides from that, the plant causes formation of blisters across the skin, irritation of the skin, scarring, blindness, etc.

However, all of these won’t show up unless the affected area is exposed to the sun. The plants have white umbrella-shaped flowers and stems with stiff white hairs.

How do you treat a garden rash?

Garden rashes could spring up when you contact poisonous plants like poison ivy, oak, and poison sumac. However, if you act quickly, you can prevent the rashes from spurring up.

First, wash the affected part of your body with any of these;

  • Alcohol
  • Cleansing agents for poison ivy, or any of the poisonous plants
  • Dishwashing soaps
  • Laundry detergents

While washing though, ensure that you aren’t too harsh. Being harsh on your skin could lead to the appearance of rashes and blisters you’d definitely not like.

After washing, set the affected part under a stream of cold water. This way, you can prevent further irritation of your skin by any of the cleansing agents you used.

You should also wash the space under your fingernails too.

Following the above procedures within a timeframe of ten minutes after contact with the poisonous plant will prevent further issues. However, what do you do when you find the rash after gardening?

  1. Work an antibacterial ointment unto the surface of the skin.
  1. You could also try compressing a cold towel unto the area, applying topical like calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, etc.
  1. Having oatmeal baths will go a long way in preventing itching of the affected area.
  1. Antihistamines like Benadryl will also help in relieving skin itches. However, it is recommended that you take this only after your doctor recommends it.
  1. Visit your doctor immediately so that the rash doesn’t develop into something more terrifying. The urgency increases if the rash occurs on your face.

If you find it hard to breathe or see the affected part swelling in size, you shouldn’t waste any time!


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