CLL Support Association
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Take precautions against infection when using potting mix

Take precautions against infection when using potting mix

Many of us enjoy time in our gardens. "Gardening is generally a healthy and pleasurable hobby or occupation. However, any activity carries some risk – and gardening is no exception.

Potting mix is known to carry harmful bacteria and fungi. And there have been reports of deaths from diseases, such as the Legionnaires’ disease (a lung infection), that have been attributed to bacteria in potting mix."

Peter Collignon, Professor, infectious diseases and microbiology, Australian National University goes on to explain the risk of infection from potting mix is low for healthy people, but "People who have a lower immunity, such as those with diseases such as HIV or lymphoma, are more at risk of catching something from potting mix. So it’s even more important they use extra appropriate precautions, including wearing masks when in higher-risk situations." :

CLL is a Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, so for your continued health's sake, take note of the precautions advised in the article - handle potting mix carefully to reduce the risk of exposing yourself to it by wearing gloves, a mask and washing your hands thoroughly after handling it. The same goes for working in the soil, particularly if it is dusty, and working around birds and animals. A CLL mate of mine needed a trip to Emergency after working with potting mix...


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Since diagnosis I have been obsessive about washing my hands when using compost, plant feed and chemicals in the garden. I am a keen gardener and will be in the garden most days. Even if I use gloves I wash my hands after each process. Trying to save the environment I try not to use toxic products but simple soil can get you. So gloves. The mask I don’t use at present but will consider, other than amusing the neighbours it will scare off the invading cats! I have a gin and tonic garden!

I made the car dealership “fix” the fuel filler cap etc on the car as on a hot day mist would abound in the air when filling up with fuel. Not prepared to breathe in any fumes I can avoid anymore.


Yes I know that trip to the ER well...

Not to mention aspergillus fungus ,... which has currently taken residence in my lungs... known as aspergillosis...

People with deficient immune systems—such as patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, chemotherapy for leukaemia, or AIDS—are at risk of more disseminated disease. Acute invasive aspergillosis occurs when the immune system fails to prevent Aspergillus spores from entering the bloodstream via the lungs. Without the body mounting an effective immune response, fungal cells are free to disseminate throughout the body and can infect major organs such as the heart and kidneys.

The most frequently identified pathogen is Aspergillus fumigatus—a ubiquitous organism that is capable of living under extensive environmental stress. It is estimated that most humans inhale thousands of Aspergillus spores daily, but they do not affect most people’s health due to effective immune responses. Taken together, the major chronic, invasive and allergic forms of aspergillosis account for around 600,000 deaths annually worldwide.[1][4][5][6][7]

I'm potty , but haven't been playing in the dirt recently. 🤪

Added precauctions for leaf raking, grass cutting by power mowers and the very worst is leaf blowing... go out of your way to avoid leaf blowers.



Leaf blowers currently banned here because of all of the ash after the fires. Because so many homes burned the ash is especially toxic, more so than when just wood and brush burn.


Someone I know - her mother who had CLL and chemotherapy died from gardening after treatment. I don't know all the details it was quite a while ago and I only heard this briefly


Thanks for this Neil. I love gardening and we are coming to the tail end of winter in the UK so I cant wait to get out there and start planting up. My husband is always warning me about compost and soil and continuously tells me "wear your gloves". Not always easy but reading what you say, I will!

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