Snow shoveling

Here’s a timely topic–if, at most, only peripherally “pediatric:” snow shoveling safety.

First of all, please note that, each year, snow shoveling causes 11,000 ER visits–7% are cardiac events.  The cold and wet causes increased blood pressure and stress on the heart.  So, if you are not in good physical condition, have high blood pressure, diabetes, if you are a smoker or overweight, and especially if you are diagnosed with heart disease, please think carefully before trying to clear snow from your property yourself.  Also note that working with a snow blower is still work.  It may be a bit easier–but pushing and pulling that heavy machine isn’t so easy, so be careful even there.

Please keep these recommendations in mind:

  • Warm up and stretch out–shoveling is strenuous exercise. Get ready as you would with any other vigorous work out.
  • Dress appropriately–too heavily can lead to heavy sweating, too wet and hypothermia.  To0 light can lead to hypothermia too.
  • Take frequent breaks .  If you are sweating profusely or feel short of breath it’s time to rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids–any time you exercise hydration is vital.
  • Don’t shovel after drinking alcohol or eating a large meal (wait > 30 minutes).  I mean–this should be obvious.
  • Use proper technique–bend at the knee, not the waist, don’t twist at the hips but rather turn your whole body, don’t throw snow over your shoulder , keep your arms close to your body, push the snow rather than lift as much as possible, keep your front hand close to the shovel head.
  • If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness you should stop immediately.  If these symptoms do not resolve promptly you should seek medical attention.
  • Here’s the pediatric part–USE YORU KIDS!!!  If they are +/- 10 years old and in good health they can certainly help.  Make your own life easier and SAFER with extra “hands on deck,” as well as a meaningful family activity.  IMHO–a little cool cash reward for their efforts is certainly not a bad idea here!!

Send along questions and thanks for following.


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