Hidden dangers of snow shoveling

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Beckley, W.V. (WVNS) – One winter health tip you might not think of, is to be careful when shoveling snow. 59 News has more information to help you stay safe while clearing out the driveway.

Most people don’t think about it, but shoveling snow is a strenuous and dangerous activity.

Every year, thousands of Americans injure themselves shoveling snow, including as many as 100 deaths per year. Crab Orchard resident Tristan Hylton was out shoveling snow to help out an older neighbor.

“You know, falling, breaking a hip,” Hylton explained. “Like that old lady just stepped outside and said she’d had some heart problems and whatnot. You can’t let people get out here and do that and hurt themselves man.“

He’s right to not want someone with heart problems out shoveling snow. In fact, the American Heart Association said that the cold weather raises blood pressure, and that combined with the strenuous exercise of shoveling puts folks at an elevated risk of having a heart attack.

Doctors recommend elderly folks like Bill Parker use a snowblower, though Parker was proud to say he wasn’t too old to break out the shovel.

“I use it (the snowblower) when I can,” said Parker. “But if it’s very light I just shovel. I’ve got a good shovel, that one there. And I can make that thing hum.”

Doctors recommend stretching before you shovel, not smoking or eating while shoveling, and lifting with your legs instead of your back. If you’re a young, in-shape person, offer to help shovel for some of your older neighbors. It just may save their lives.

“If more people get out here and do this, you know, we’d be a lot better off. As a community and whatnot. These old people ain’t got no business being out here shoveling this snow,” said Hylton.

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