According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, more than 10,000 people visit emergency rooms each year due to overexertion and injury while nearly 100 people die every year from heart attacks brought on by shoveling snow. Stay healthy and safe by taking these precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold.
- Dress warmly and work slowly. Your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don’t overdo it. Take breaks every few minutes and stretch by standing up straight.
- Push the snow. Don’t lift. If you must lift, use your legs not your back.
- Stay dry. Wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm.
- Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways, and porches. Keep your steps and walkways as clear of ice as possible by using rock salt or another chemical de-icing compound. Sand may also be used on walkways to reduce the risk of slipping.
- When shoveling, remember to keep snow and ice three feet from fire hydrants so firefighters can quickly access them in case of fire.