Seasonal safety: Winter

Stay safe after it snows: Tips for injury-free shoveling

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Maywood, IL – Parts of the country have experienced record-breaking snowfalls in 2015. With snow, comes shoveling – which can lead to a variety of injuries.

On average, 11,500 people every year are treated in emergency departments for heart attacks, broken bones and other injuries related to snow shoveling, according to the Loyola University Health System.

People with a history of back or heart problems should avoid shoveling, Dr. Richard Gonzalez, director of the division of Trauma, Critical Care & Acute Care Surgery at Loyola, said in the press release.

Loyola offers the following tips

  • Take a walk or march in place to prepare. Move your arms, and stretch your back.
  • Dress in layers. Cover skin to prevent frostbite.
  • Use a small shovel with a curved handle for a lighter load.
  • Keep your hands separated on the shovel to increase leverage.
  • Use your legs instead of your back. Bend and straighten your knees.
  • Do not let snow pile up – shovel intermittently.
  • Push snow rather than lifting it. Never throw snow over your shoulders.
  • Take breaks and stretch.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.