You’re not doing it right: shoveling tips from Genesis

QUAD CITIES- Just one day after the November blizzard, Genesis Medical Center tells WQAD they have dealt with; four people with chest pain from shoveling, at least one heart attack and several patients with broken bones and dislocations from falls on the ice.

Genesis West is also reporting several patients that fell. In Silvis, there was one chest pain patient, one hand injury patient related to snowmobile use and several more with injuries from falls.

So to prevent injury while clearing show, Dr. Dierks and Genesis Health suggest the following tips:

  1. Warm up first “Be sure your muscles are warm before you start shoveling. Warm up a little by walking, doing a few squats or walking stairs a few times. Cold, tight muscles are more likely to sprain or strain than warm, relaxed muscles.”
  2. Warmed up your muscles? Then stretch — “Once your muscles are warmed up, you’ll want to stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings and the muscles in your calves and lower back.” 
  3. Dress in layers and protect your extremities – “Wear clothing that will wick sweat away from you so you won’t get cold. Cotton tends to keep moisture trapped next to your skin, so it’s better worn as an outer layer that can be easily removed. Polypropylene and other synthetic fabrics designed to wick away moisture are good choices for inner layers. Wear a hat and gloves. Warm, waterproof boots with a thick tread will help you stay on your feet on ice and snow.”
  4. Lift safely — “It’s less tiring and safer to lift several lighter loads than it is to lift one heavy load. It’s also important to keep the load as close to your body as possible.”
  5. Communicate — “It’s a good idea to alert someone in your household before you go out to shovel snow in case you fall and need help. In extreme weather, carry a cell phone, whistle or car keys outside with you to use to signal if you need help.”
  6. Drink plenty of water “Drink at least one 8-ounce glass of water before and after snow shoveling and avoid beverages that can cause dehydration, such as those with alcohol and caffeine.”
  7. Listen to your body — “If you experience any warnings signs for heart attack, stop what you are doing immediately and call 9-1-1. If you’re overweight, have high blood pressure, smoke, or are out-of-shape, you’re at higher risk for a heart attack during exertion, and should get your doctor’s ‘OK’ before shoveling any snow.”