With nearly 2 feet of snow covering the North Shore of Long Island, it’s important to remember that shoveling it can be a daunting task for young and old.
Although freshly fallen snow is pretty, it quickly becomes ugly when it accumulates, preventing us from going to work, school or the supermarket.
In order to return to our daily tasks, the main thing is that we have to shovel. But shoveling can lead not only to minor pain, but also to unfortunate situations such as heart attacks or death.
This week alone with the most recent Northeast, there have been three blizzard-related deaths on Long Island – two in Syosset and one in Cutchogue.
According to data analyzed in a 2019 Washington Post article, shoveling during snowstorms is responsible for approximately 11,500 injuries, of which an average of 100 are fatal.
However, Catholic Health Physician Partners cardiologist Dr. Chong Park explained how to avoid going to the hospital while cleaning your property.
Park suggested doing a 10-minute warm-up before heading out.
“Light exercise and stretching allows your muscles and joints to relax,” he says. “Also avoid eating a heavy meal and consuming alcohol before clearing snow.”
Park added: “If symptoms such as chest pain, chest heaviness, palpitations or shortness of breath occur while shoveling snow, stop immediately and seek medical attention.”
Other tips from Park include:
Dress properly: To stay warm when outdoors, wear several layers of loose clothing. Plus, don a waterproof coat and boots, plus a knit hat, scarf, and gloves. It is important to keep your gloves as dry as possible when shoveling. Wet gloves won’t keep your hands warm.
Set your pace: You may want to clear the snow as quickly as possible, but that’s when injuries occur. Take it easy and do it step by step. As much as possible, push the snow along the ground. Use a smaller snow shovel to avoid lifting too heavy a load.
Be sure to take frequent breaks, return indoors to warm up, and consume plenty of water. It is also important to clear the snow as quickly as possible before it begins to melt and become too heavy.
Good shape: When lifting snow, it is important to use your legs. Bending over at the waist can lead to injury. Keep your back straight and squat down with your knees apart. Avoid throwing snow. Instead, walk it to where you want to throw it.
Avoid falls: Wear boots with non-slip soles. Once you’ve cleared your driveway and driveway, throw in some salt or sand to clear any remaining ice or snow and improve traction.
So please follow our motto, “Snow: Handle with care.”