The Dangers of Shoveling Snow

snow shovelAbundant snowfall can be a novelty here in southeastern Indiana, but it can also cause serious complications. From increased automobile accidents due to snowy conditions to slip and fall accidents caused by slick walkways, winter weather can be brutal. But did you know that snow shoveling causes thousands of injuries and approximately 100 fatalities each year in the United States?

Most people don’t have any issues with shoveling snow, but it can put others at increased risk for heart attack, according to the American Heart Association. The sudden exertion association with moving snow after being sedentary for long periods of time can cause strain for the heart. Similarly, pushing a snow blower can also cause injuries.

Cold weather can also cause an increased heart rate and blood pressure. Blood may clot more easily and arteries might become constricted, which decreases blood supply. This is true for everyone, but individuals over age 40 or those who are sedentary should exercise extra care when working outdoors in cold weather.

Here are some tips for safer snow removal from the American Heart Association:

  • Take frequent breaks when shoveling, and pay attention to how your body is feeling during those breaks.
  • Don’t eat a large meals right before or soon after shoveling.
  • Use a small shovel; lifting smaller amounts is safer for your heart. If possible, push the snow out of the area you are working to clear rather than lifting the shovel.
  • Consult your doctor before shoveling snow if you have a medical condition, don’t exercise regularly, or are middle aged or older.
  • Don’t consume alcoholic beverages right before or after shoveling snow.
  • Understand the dangers of hypothermia. Dress in warm layers and wear a hat while you’re outdoors.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heart attack, which could include one or more of the following: chest discomfort, upper body discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness, jaw pain, and back pain.

Don’t plan on shoveling snow without telling someone to look out for you.

With over 40 years of experience, John Schuerman is a compassionate advocate for injury victims and their families while being an aggressive fighter for justice and full compensation for their claims. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury, call 1-800-274-0045 today for a free consultation. Evening and weekend appointments as well as home and hospital visits are available.