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Prince George's health officials warn: Shovel snow at your own risk

Sure, there are plenty of petty annoyances associated with the snow--the slushy pant legs, the buried cars, the closed corner stores. But the latest announcement from the Prince George's County Health Department suggests shoveling could actually mean risking your life.

Prince George's County Health officials just sent out a notice warning of the "hidden dangers" of snow shoveling.

"Prince George's County Health Department wants residents to be aware that strenuous task such as shoveling snow coupled with extreme weather conditions increases your risk of heart attacks," the release stated.

"The risk of a heart attack during shoveling snow increases for middle-aged or older individuals, individuals with a sedentary lifestyle and individuals diagnosed with heart condition," county health chief Donald Shell said in a statement.

See full release below for cautionary tips:


PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release:
February 9, 2010

For More Information Contact:
Dellia Williams, Press Information
Prince George's County Health Department
301-883-7835 / 240-417-8443

Greta Chambers, Press Information
Prince George's County Health Department
301-883-3339 / 240-417-8101

Prince George's County Health Departments Brings Awareness to the Shoveling Snow and Heart Attacks

LARGO, MD--Prince George's County Health Department wants residents to be aware that strenuous task such as shoveling snow coupled with extreme weather conditions increases your risk of heart attacks.

"With the possibility of a third snow storm approaching today, it's important that our residents review the hidden dangers of snow shoveling," said Donald Shell, M.D., M.A., Health Officer. "The risk of a heart attack during shoveling snow increases for middle-aged or older individuals, individuals with a sedentary lifestyle and individuals diagnosed with heart condition."

According to the January edition of the Harvard Health Letter, about 1200 Americans die each winter from cardiac-related events during or after a big snow, and shoveling is often a contributing factor.

Avoiding the following hidden dangers of snow shoveling will allow you to finish without the risk of serious injury or death.

· Warm up with gentle stretches before you start which lessens the chance of hurting your back, arms, or shoulder muscles
· If you are out of shape or overweight, tackle snow shoveling at a slow pace to avoid the risk of heart attack
· Take small loads of snow on your shovel
· Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible so your are lifting with your legs
· Keep your arms as close to your body as you can when you lift your load
· Whenever possible, push snow out of your way instead of lifting it
· Take frequent breaks
§ stand up and walk around to reduce strain on lower back
§ extend/stretch back muscles by placing your hands on the back of hips and slightly and gently bend backwards--do not bounce
Do not drink alcohol while you shovel as it may dull your senses

Heart Attack Warning Signs

Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
Felling weak, lightheaded, or faint
Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
Shortness of breath
Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

**Diabetics may not feel chest pain when having a heart attack (myocardial infarction) like a person without diabetes

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms call 911

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  February 9, 2010; 2:02 PM ET
Categories:  Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County  
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Comments

How does this square with the law requiring you to shovel your sidewalk?

Posted by: Bill64738 | February 9, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I would like to share with you information on how to safely remove snow overload from a home, without climbing on the roof. This is a problem that is not a frequent one, but can, at times, be a very urgent one. Please consider the following information as a resource to supply to others when this need arises. It will show them:
* The parts they would need to purchase from the local hardware store to make the tool.
* Detailed steps, with photos, to build the tool.
* Instructions on how to safely use the tool.
* The link: http://www.instructables.com/id/Roof_Snow_Removal_Tool/.
I would welcome the opportunity to explain this further.

Joe Thompson
South Jordan, UT

Posted by: joethompson64 | February 9, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

After spending most of the summer in the middle east where it is hot enough to fry an egg on the bonnet of a car (yea I was dumb enough to try)I now find myself here...stuck and snowed in, While I was sitting here just trying to keep warm I started looking up places I could actually go even in this freezing snow, you know just to take some pictures and stuff...I ended up here http://ketiva.com/Cars_and_Transportation/winter_weather.htmlwhere it says where you could go and drive to even in this crazy snow...

Posted by: markmarksis | February 9, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

This to the moron named Bill64738, when this stupid county plows my street I might consider their side walk. In the mean time how about I smack you in your square head with my shovel... moron

Posted by: FrankMonzon | February 10, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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