For starters, gardens can be full of prickly thorns, sharp rocks, and hungry bugs that can injure bare skin. Unseen threats like bacteria and parasites can also run amok in soil.

Two of the most dangerous soil pathogens are listeria and Toxoplasma gondii. While rare, serious health problems can occur following exposure to these germs—especially among those who are pregnant or have weakened immune systems.

Always wear gloves when gardening, just to be safe, and be sure to wash your hands after you’re done. Doing so will also keep your nails clean and hands soft and blister-free after an afternoon of weeding or digging.

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