By: KayLynn Roberts-McMurray

When enough of the white stuff has fallen and forces people out of their homes armed with shovels and snow blowers to clear off their sidewalks and driveways, be aware that snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks. Picking up a shovel and moving pounds of snow, particularly after doing nothing physical for several months can put a huge strain on a person’s heart. Cold weather is another contributor because it can boost pressure, interrupt blood flow to part of the heart, and make blood more likely to form clots.

This even includes the use a snow blower, which are often times heavy and hard to push thru the dense wet snow.

Below are some tips for safe shoveling:

•Warm up your muscles before starting.

•Dress in layers to avoid hypothermia

•Cover your mouth, cold air can cause angina or trigger breathing problems

•Shovel many light loads of fewer heavy ones

•Take frequent breaks

•Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated

Head indoors right away if your chest starts hurting, you feel lightheaded, short of breath, your heart starts racing, or some other physical change is making you nervous.  If you think your having a heart attack, call 911.

Please be careful and don’t overdo it when it comes to digging out this winter!