Mountains of snow covering sidewalks and driveways force many people out of their homes each winter. For a lot of those people, they’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle until the snow can’t be ignored anymore. Then, it’s time to pick up a shovel. Shoveling snow is a strenuous and tiring activity, but did you know it comes with some serious health risks too?
Snow Shoveling Risks
Snow shoveling poses multiple risks. First, there’s a risk of injury. Injury can occur while shoveling snow due to falling, improper lifting technique, overexertion, and more. The most common snow shoveling related injuries include muscle strains, back injury, head injury, and bone fractures. In addition to those acute injuries, shoveling snow causes a high number of heart attacks each year. Those suffering from a chronic health condition or with a history of heart disease are at a higher risk for heart attack.
Stay safe while shoveling by following these tips!
- Don’t shovel immediately after consuming caffeine or nicotine – this increases your risk of heart attack when combined with colder temperatures.
- Don’t overexert yourself – stop shoveling when you’re tired
- Take your time
- Stretch before shoveling
- Remember to push snow with the shovel, don’t lift it
- Spread rock salt or kitty litter to provide traction while you shovel
- Don’t shovel at all if you have a history of heart disease. Your risk is too high – ask for health from a friend or neighbor.
- Know the signs of a heart attack – common signs of heart attack include chest pressure or tightness, shortness of breath, pain in the left arm or shoulder, sweating, and more.
If an injury does occur, visit your local urgent care center right away for treatment. If you suffer a hard fall and are unsure if you’re injured or not, it’s always best to go get checked out! If you believe you may be having a heart attack, call 911 right away.
How Can Urgent Care Help?
When you’re suffering from a chronic health condition that could lead to a heart attack, getting regular medical care is important. Visit your local urgent care to address any preventative care needs you may have and to assess your current health status. If you suffer an injury or illness that is non-life-threatening, urgent care can help! Don’t forget to bring a list of all current medications and inform our urgent care staff of your entire medical history so we’re able to treat you in the best way possible.