Nevada Gourd Society
Gourds are moldy and the dust can cause gourd flu-like symptoms. Since the dust and mold can cause respiratory issues, always wear a good quality dust mask or respirator when cleaning, sanding, cutting, carving gourds. Here are some examples:
3M Medium Mold and Lead Particle Respirator
3M Sanding and Fiberglass Valved Respirator
When using power tools:
It is also extremely important to wear eye protection when using power tools with gourds. Find a comfortable pair of safety glasses at your hardware store. If you wear glasses, find safety glasses that will fit over your glasses.
Additionally, the noise of power tools can be damaging to sensitive ears. Keep a set of earplugs in your tool kit so you'll have them handy when you need them.