Winter weather: How to shovel, remove snow safely

  • Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Dec 09, 2017

As snow falls, homeowners need to keep up on snow removal.

But simple snow shoveling could land some in the emergency room if they don’t follow some simple guidelines.

“Picking up a shovel and moving hundreds of pounds of snow, particularly after doing nothing physical for several months, can put a big strain on the heart,” Harvard Health executive editor Patrick Skerrett has written in the past.

Cold temperatures can also increase heart rate and blood pressure. Blood can clot easier and constrict arteries, decreasing blood supply, the National Safety Council reported

From 1990-2006, 1,647 people died from heart issues related to shoveling snow, the BBC reported. The average is about 100 people a year die from shoveling-related heart attacks.

FILE PHOTO: A man shovels snow in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

So how can you keep yourself safe while doing the winter chore?

The National Safety Council said:

If you have history of heart disease, ask a doctor before attempting to shovel and if you feel tightness in the chest or dizziness while shoveling, stop.

If you opt for a snowblower instead of a shovel, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offer these snowblower safety tips: