With any large snow storm with significant accumulation, snow shoveling can be dangerous!  It isn’t a myth that people get injured from shoveling snow. In fact, according to a recent study by the CIRP, there are more than 10,000 medical emergencies each year related to snow and 100’s of deaths.

Snow Shoveling Tips

When you pick up a shovel and move hundreds of pounds of snow, particularly after doing nothing physical for several months, can put a big strain on the heart. Another factor that many do not think about is that the cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure. The cold temperatures can make blood clot more easily and could constrict arteries, which may decrease blood supply.

Don’t pick up that shovel without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease. If you feel tightness in the chest or dizziness, stop immediately. 

  • Wear breathable layers and avoid heavy wools that don’t allow perspiration to evaporate.
  • Be sure to stretch before you begin each shoveling session. Snow shoveling is a workout so be sure to warm up your muscles. (ask Dr.Ralph for some tips next time you are in the office).
  • Stay ahead of the snow. If you are expected to get a significant snowfall, clear the snow every few inches which may reduce the weight of each scoop and help prevent a back injury by lifting 10-12 inches of snow over your entire walkway or driveway.
  • Keep a cell phone or portable house phone with you. In the event that you do not feel well or slip and fall, you will have a way to call 911 for help.
  • Push, don’t lift- It takes less energy to push snow than to lift snow.

Dr. Ralph is a Livingston, NJ resident and if you or someone you know has injured themselves, please contact our office to schedule an appointment. Stay safe!