Tips for Preventing a Cardiac Injury While Snow Shoveling
Winter has officially arrived in Minnesota, with snow storms the past two weekends forcing residents state-wide to pull out our shovels and fire up our snow blowers. Clearing our driveways and sidewalks is an added duty that we all have to tackle each winter and although it may be tiring and inconvenient, it can also be dangerous. A study conducted by US Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that every winter, almost 100 people in the United States die from cardiac-related injuries associated with snow shoveling.
Whether it is a few inches or a whole foot of snow, there are things to remember when going to clear it all out. Snow can be heavy and pushing it around with a shovel and throwing it onto your snow banks is exhausting, whether you have been doing other physical activity or not. Here are some tips for safely shoveling snow:
- Do not shovel after eating or while smoking
- Take it slow and stretch out before you begin
- Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; it’s lighter
- Push the snow rather than lifting it
- If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel
- Lift with your legs, not your back
- Do not work to the point of exhaustion
- Stay hydrated
- Wear warm, breathable layers
If you are tackling a huge snowfall’s worth of snow, take frequent breaks, clearing your driveway in sections. If possible, get out and shovel while it is snowing to take it out layer by layer, before it gets too heavy or compacted.
If you are currently or have recently been facing lung or heart problems, consult a doctor first. At any feelings of tightness in the chest or dizziness, stop immediately. Always take your health into concern before worrying about shoveling your driveway. You are more important. If possible, shovel with someone else in your household or when a neighbor is shoveling as well so that you can monitor each other. If possible, keep your cell phone on your so that you can use it if need in an emergency.
Are you prepared to provide life-saving care in case of a snow-related cardiac emergency? HeartCert provides affordable, quality training to improve the quality of care and chance for survival in case of emergency. Plan your next on-site group training or attend a session at one of our convenient locations; click here to get started.