Staying safe when shoveling snow

Local News

Traveling isn’t the only safety concern in weather like this.

We’re used to winter weather here in Pennsylvania, but it’s been a few months since we had to deal with it.

WTAJ talked to Dr. David Burwell, Chief Medical Information Officer at UPMC Altoona, to help us brush up on the common health hazards we face with this time of year.

“During the winter months we tend not to be as active as we are in the spring and summer season and we then will go out and do an activity that could require a significant amount of exertion,” said Dr. Burwell.

Like tackling the significant amount of snow we’re expected to get today.

We tend to think of middle-aged and older people being most at risk in this weather, but Dr. Burwell says we all need to take stock of the shape we’re in before we start our winter snow workout.

“I don’t really go by an age group,” said Dr. Burwell. “I go by whether you are frail or not, so basically we can have significantly healthy people who are 80-years-old or people who have significant challenges that are in their 50’s.

Dr. Burwell says by all means, if you’re trying to clean up outside, take your time.

“Maybe if you’re going to shovel your walkway  or your driveway you might want to g o out and take it in small bits , do the front maybe not the side and then go from there and see how you feel,” said Dr. Burwell. “Take breaks in between.”

And if you do experience any heaviness in your chest, or chest pains, get medical help.

To try to reduce your chances of injuring your back while shoveling snow, Dr. Burwell recommends that you do some stretching before you go out.

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