February 6, 2015

Snow Safety

Naperville recently saw record breaking snow when a blizzard brought 16 inches to our area. The storm caused treacherous road conditions and for some, a danger in their own driveway.

Three people from DuPage County, including a 60-year-old Naperville man, died after shoveling snow from this latest storm, all of the deaths were due to heart-related issues.

It’s the reason why many call this brand of flurry “heart attack snow.” Particularly wet and heavy, this snow can weigh 15 pounds per shovel. Add that to the cold air which can cause coronary arteries to restrict, and you’ve got a dangerous combination for those who aren’t used to that level of activity.

“It stresses their heart and can cause a heart attack, they may not have exercised in a long time and when they go out and put themselves to such strenuous activity, it in turn can cause a heart attack,” Said Emergency Doctor Scott Yilk, Edward Hospital.

Besides heart attacks, the heavy snow can also be to blame for back injuries. To help prevent both of these, doctors at Edward Hospital urge shovelers to stretch, use a smaller shovel, take breaks, and if possible, hire someone else to do it.

If you or a loved one have no choice but to shovel, and experience shortness of breath or left arm or jaw pain this could be a sign of a heart attack. Call 911 immediately.

And don’t think you’re in the clear if you have a snowblower. Though they are easier on your heart, they bring potential for other injuries. Make sure the machine is completely shut off before clearing out snow from the chute.


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