Be careful when shoveling snow

Shoveling snow can be hazardous to your health.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that an average of 11,500 snow shoveling-related injuries and medical emergencies were treated in the country’s emergency departments each year from 1990 to 2006.

The most-common injury were soft tissue issues, lacerations and fractures. The lower back was the most-frequently injured region of the body, followed by injuries to the arms and hands, and head. Other injuries occur with slips or falls and being struck by a shovel.

Cardiac-related injuries accounted for only seven percent of the total number of cases studied. However, they were the most serious, accounting for more than half of the hospitalizations, and 100 percent of fatalities associated with snow shoveling.

Patients 55-years-old and up were four times more likely than younger patients to experience cardiac-related symptoms while shoveling snow. And men of that age are twice as likely to exhibit cardiac-related symptoms compared to women.

Researchers recommend hiring someone else to shovel for you, or using salts or deicing sprays or snow blowers.

If you’re going to shovel, pace yourself and take frequent rest breaks, push the snow to clear it rather than lift it, and wear warm clothing, including a hat, gloves and slip-resistant, high-traction footwear.

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