Not only is waking up early to stand in the freezing cold shoveling snow a pain in the back side, a recent study from the US has revealed that snow shoveling causes a whopping 11,500 visits to the emergency room each year with accident ranging from simple cuts and bruises to snow shoveling related fatalities!
The study stated that the most common snow shovelling related trips to A&E were soft tissue injuries at 55% with lacerations coming in at 16% and fractures 7%. Causes of injuries ranged from pulled muscles and slips and trips to being knocked over the head by a shovel (eh?). Cardiac related injuries proved to be the most serious cases causing more than half of the hospitalisations as a result and causing 1,647 deaths – 100% of all snow shoveling related deaths.
The study also revealed that people aged 55 and older were over 4 times more likely to experience cardiac related injuries whilst shovelling than those younger and that men were twice as likely to show cardiac related symptoms than women. The study states “The cardiovascular demands of snow shovelling are increased by the freezing temperatures that typically accompany snowfall…Not only is the heart’s workload increased due to shovelling snow, but cold temperatures also add to the chances of a heart attack in at-risk individuals”.
The study offers a snow shovelling top tips for preventing injury which include:
• Ensure you warm up your body with light exercise before you start
• Work at a steady pace ensuring you frequently stop for breaks
• Clear the snow by pushing it rather than lifting it
• Avoid shovelling large areas of snow in one go, spread it throughout the day
• Wear warm clothing as well as slip-resistant, high traction footwear
• Consider alternative methods to snow shovelling such as using salts, de-icer sprays, snow blowers or hiring professionals.