Backyard Health Risks

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Is your warm weather oasis an accident waiting to happen? Review the following areas of potential health risks and fix them now.

  1. Dangerous grill placement. A charcoal grill next to combustibles (a wooden deck rail or low-hanging tree branches) is a leading cause of BBQ fires. Always make sure to leave a 10-foot clearing between your grill and deck rails, the side of the house and overhanging plants.
  2. Not quite-extinguished charcoal. Tossing still-warm coals can spark a fire. When you’ve finished grilling dinner, soak coals with cold water and then place them in a noncombustible metal can for safe disposal. Keep the can on a nonflammable surface, such as the driveway or a cement patio.
  3. Toxic plants. Plants poison more than 68,000 people a year. Most end up with nothing worse than an upset stomach or an itchy skin rash. However, some plants can be fatal, especially to pets and small children. Do your homework before choosing backyard vegetation. A few common plants require caution: Oleander, datura (also called jimsonweed) and castor bean are all dangerous if swallowed.
  4. Pesticide residue. Misusing bug-killing chemicals may make you sick. Homeowners often use too many pesticides – conventional or natural – or apply them incorrectly. Cut down on pests naturally by attracting birds and insects that eat bugs. Install a birdhouse designed for bluebirds, which feed on insects. Or grow plants – such as those in the parsley and sunflower families – that attract predatory insects.
  5. Tiny pools of water. Even the smallest amount of standing water can give mosquitoes a hospitable place to multiply. This raises your risk of annoying bites – and even infections such as West Nile virus. Do a weekly check of buckets and plastic covers and dump any water to keep pests away. Also change the water in birdbaths and fountains.
  6. Pools without fences. Nearly a quarter of all drownings in the United States happen near home. Whether your pool is built-in or above ground, install a four-sided fence that is at least five feet high, with a self-latching gate.
  7. Weather-worn deck. Inspect your deck every two to three years. Moisture can seep in and warp the wood, increasing the risk of falls.

In need of immediate care? We have locations across Kentucky. Be sure to check out Baptist Health Urgent Care locations and find an urgent care that is convenient for you.