Tips on how to stay safe and injury-free while shoveling during a big snowfall

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Although it is important to keep your driveways and sidewalks clean, many forget about their own health while shoveling the snow.

Sacred Heart Hospital and the Mayo Clinic Health System have counted over a dozen injuries related to snow shoveling in the past 24 hours. Medical professionals are cautioning you to be attentive to your health when shoveling the snow.

"Every time we have a significant snow accumulation we have patients come in with a different variety of problems. Chest pain and heart attacks are our biggest worries,” said Dr. Shef Massey, the Emergency Medical Director at Sacred Heart Hospital.

With as much snow as we have been getting, there is plenty of time to get injured while cleaning out your driveway.

"It depends on how much snow there is, but sometimes it can take up to as much as an hour and a half,” said homeowner Kathie Steinke.

"Yesterday, after being out here for two, three times, I didn't throw my back out, but when I got up this morning, I could feel it,” said UWEC Lecturer Steve Spina.

"Shoveling snow is a unique function. It's a lot of upper body work, it's a lot of bending over, lots of leg work. It’s an excursion that you normally don't do,” said Dr. Massey.

But there are some precautions you can take so you don't end up in an emergency room.

"Know your limitations, if you have health problems, if you have back problems, you're going to have to take it slow," said Dr. Massey.

"I still think I'm probably in better shape than I actually am, it'd be easy to overdo it,” laughed Spina.

"I give myself breaks. If I’m shoveling I just go in and warm up,” said Steinke.

"And regardless of age if you’re having shortness of breath and pain, it should be looked at,” said Dr. Massey.

The middle aged group however, is more sensitive to injuries than younger adults. So if you’re not cable of doing it yourself, don't be afraid to ask for help.

"There is always somebody I can call, a colleague, guy friend, students," said Spina.

"My son in law,” laughed Steinke.

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