Risk level

Green fingers can get damaged

Gardeners surround themselves with beautiful flowers or vegetables in the gardens and parks where they work. Being creative, interested in growing and able to plan are good attributes for this job. The work can be both outside in chilly gardens and inside in warm, humid greenhouses. Lots of contact with soil and water means that some people develop hand eczema. Also, plants can have strong fragrances that cause allergies.

What are the risks?

Gardeners' hands have a lot of contact with soil, water and different plants, which is hard on the skin and can result in hand eczema. The skin will then become dry, red and flaky with cracks and blisters that itch.

Everyday flowers and plants such as ox-eye daisies, marigolds, cornflowers and chrysanthemums can trigger allergic reactions. Some plants have strong fragrances that can make it more difficult to breathe.

Prevention and avoidance

Special gardening gloves can protect your hands from water, soil and sharp thorns. Rubbing in hand cream several times a day is also good for the skin.

If you work with pesticides, it's important to use the protective equipment designed for this kind of work.

It's worth knowing that if you already have or have previously had hand eczema, working as a gardener may cause it to come back or get worse.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to know more about asthma, allergy and eczema when working as a gardener, get in touch with your school nurse or careers adviser.