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Snow Shoveling Safety

Protect Yourself from "Heart Attack Snow"

Your back isn't the only thing you need to look out for while shoveling snow. Extremely wet, heavy snow is known as “heart attack snow,” so know the warning signs and how to reduce your risk.

Heavy lifting strains the heart. Cold weather raises blood pressure. It can be a deadly combination.

According to the Harvard Health Publications, the signs of a heart attack are a squeezing pain in the chest, shortness of breath, pain that radiates up to the left shoulder and down the left arm, or a cold sweat. Other common signs are  jaw pain, lower back pain, unexplained fatigue or nausea, and anxiety.

If you aren’t in the best physical shape, you should be especially careful – perhaps even hire a teenager to shovel for you. But if you do shovel, below are tips from Harvard for staying safe:

  • Warm up your muscles before starting.
  • Shovel many light loads instead of fewer heavy ones.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Head indoors right away if your chest starts hurting, you feel lightheaded or short of breath, your heart starts racing, or some other physical change makes you nervous.

Most importantly, don’t hesitate to call 911 if you think you might be having a heart attack.

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