White Pine County was slammed with snow last week, and there were lots of people shoveling a path to their front door, driveways, or even a neighbors walkway.
But with really big snow storms – and even everyday, run-of-the-mill snowfalls – comes a risk of death by shoveling. Nationwide, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths each year. .
So, why so many deaths? Shoveling snow is just another household chore, right?
Not really, says the American Heart Association. While most people won’t have a problem, shoveling snow can put some people at risk of heart attack. Sudden exertion, like moving hundreds of pounds of snow after being sedentary for several months, can put a big strain on the heart. Pushing a heavy snow blower also can cause injury.
And, there’s the cold factor. Cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure. It can make blood clot more easily and constrict arteries, which decreases blood supply. This is true even in healthy people. Individuals over the age of 40 or who are relatively inactive should be particularly careful.
Take it easy when shoveling, push the snow rather than lifting, do not work to the point of exhaustion. And, if someone offers to help you, gladly accept, because two sets of hands is always better than one.