Snow Removal Could Be Health Hazard

Snow Removal Could Be Health Hazard

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Ed Yeates ReportingWhile the past few winters may have been kind to us, this one is tugging hard at our backs and our hearts. Experts say these storms may be affecting our health in ways we've never thought about before.

Snow is heavy. And there's lots of it. So is there an art to safe shoveling? If so, perhaps it's time for a refresher course.

Winston Greenwell, Home Owner: "This is the worst shoveling I've ever had to do at this home in the 50 years we've lived here."

There is an old fashioned snow shovel, and an old fashioned way of shoveling snow. It includes bending, pulling with the back, and twisting. That's a no, no. But there is a right way.

The show shovels with twisted handles can save your back.

Paul Pilgram, M.D., Jordan Valley Hospital: "And you can just flip and turn rather than do just physical lifting straight up with your back."

Dr. Paul Pilgram says actual pressure measurements on the spine show bending down and reaching out with a conventional shovel increases the pressure on the discs ten fold.

The increased workload stresses the heart as well. Even though you may be in good shape and workout on a treadmill, signs of heart stress may show up while shoveling snow because the upper part of the body is working overtime.

Paul Pilgram, M.D., Jordan Valley Hospital: "It's a much larger burden placed on your heart as far as stressing your heart and making it work harder to do upper extremity work than lower extremity work."

Some other reminders: With your feet firmly on the ground, use specifically designed plastic rakes with extension arms to remove heavy snow from your roof; watch out for water dripping behind rain gutters - making the pavement slick smack dab in front of your garage doors; and never try to clear a snow blower with your hand, even when the engine is off.

University Hospital ER alone treated seven people over the weekend with severed fingers from snow blower accidents.

Dr. Pilgram says if you have any question about the status of your health, it may be a good idea to just pay a neighborhood kid to shovel your snow.

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