A Reminder on the Hazards of Shovelling Snow.

With the recent snowfall in Oakville and the GTA, as well as the blizzard in Buffalo, New York, the hazards of snow and ice need to be considered, particularly for seniors and individuals with disabilities.  Not only is there a risk of slips and falls to ourselves and those around us, but there is also a risk to our personal health through the occurrence of heart attacks and personal injuries. The importance of using a proper technique while shovelling snow should always be considered.   The following tips from Toronto EMS are for individuals of all ages as no one has zero risk during physical activities such as snow shovelling.

Before you begin shovelling snow, make sure to prepare through some warm-ups and light stretching.  Make sure you are dressed appropriately with warm non-slip boots and have a light ergonomic shovel.  Shovel at a slow pace and take rest breaks often – it is important not to over-exert yourself.  Start shovelling earlier during a snowfall when the snow is lighter and before it has had a chance to accumulate.

While shovelling, lift the snow as little as possible.  When you do need to lift the snow, do so properly by standing with your feet hip width apart, keeping the shovel close to your body and bending from your knees, not your back.  It is also important to avoid twisting your body while lifting and to shovel only small amounts at a time (1-2 inches at a time).  Do not forget to spread sand or salt to increase traction and prevent falls.

Shovelling snow is a strenuous activity that creates a lot of stress on the heart.  Stop shovelling and call 911 if you have any discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck; any unusual or prolonged shortness of breath; any dizziness or excessive sweating.

For more information, please visit the Toronto Emergency Medical Services website at: http://www.torontoems.ca/main-site/careers/safety-tips/show-shovelling.html

Please note that this blog post is provided for information only. It is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified doctor, pharmacist or other qualified health care professional. ALWAYS check with you physician or pharmacist if you have any concerns about your condition and/or treatment.