Snow Removal Safety Tips

The region was caught by surprise by the late october snowstorm, but now with snow expected at its more usual time of year, police are warning drivers to take it slow on the roads and health professionals are saying the same about… shoveling your walk.

Most people know the strain that shoveling heavy wet snow can put on a person's heart or back. but according to Dr. Richard Gerstein, chairman of emergency medicine at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, in Ware, Massachusetts, there are a few extra precautions that people can take. 
"The first thing we tell people to try to do is to avoid caffeine intake, or nicotine intake before shoveling, because these are stimulants, and they can increase the heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict. So that can place extra stress on the heart."
Gerstein says snowblowers also require caution. Letting the snowblower's wheels do the pushing for you for you is important, he says, and jammed or clogged snowblowers can be dangerous.
"Even if you shut the machine off, and you go to put your hand in the chute to remove snow, those blades are still under tension, and they can still move. So we'll see hand injuries of people that do something along that line."
Dr. Gerstein also likes to remind those that may not be capable of shoveling that plenty of young people are out looking to get money, and snowstorms can be good opportunities to hire someone else to do the heavy lifting.