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Snow Shoveling Safety

December 25, 2009
Reinbeck Courier

Shoveling injuries range from aches and pains to heart attacks.

As the state digs out from the first winter storm of the season, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) encourages Iowans to remember their health as they clear their driveways and sidewalks. "It's not uncommon for people to hurt themselves shoveling snow," said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. "People forget that shoveling puts a lot of stress on the body in a short amount of time. This can result in injuries ranging from minor aches and pains to fatal heart attacks."

While the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General counts 15 minutes of snow shoveling as moderate physical activity, it can be too demanding for some individuals. Those at most risk of a heart attack while show shoveling are individuals who had a previous heart attack, people with a history of heart disease, those with high blood pressure, smokers, and people who don't exercise on a regular basis.

There are tips to follow for safe shoveling:

Use a smaller shovel.

Use light weight plastic shovels ratherthan metal shovels.

Pick up smaller loads of snow. Shovel by sections.

Take frequent breaks, even if only for a couple of minutes.

Stop and go inside if you become overheated or become too cold.

Drink fluids.

Don't try to fling snow long distances.

Stop any time you feel pain.

Warning signs that you should stop shoveling include shortness of breath, heavy sweating, or pain. For more information about winter weather safety, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/adper/winter_weather.asp.

 
 

 

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