The state’s acting Chief Health Officer has issued a warning about a dangerous bacteria commonly found in potting mix.
Potting mix provides an ideal breeding ground for a bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, a rare form of pneumonia.
Cases of infection of the bacteria peak in November.
Gardeners are advised to wear masks and gloves, wash hands after handling potting mix, store it in a cool, dry place, and take care not to inhale the mix.
Other precautions people should take include opening bags in a well-ventilated space and slowly, wet soil to reduce dust when potting plants, water gardens gently, and avoid breathing in droplets of water from pot plants and when watering.
Early symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include headache, fever, chills, muscle aches and pains, a dry cough, and shortness of breath.
People who suspect they are ill are advised to visit their doctor.
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