The dangers of shoveling snow

(WTNH)–All across the state the digout is on. From Milford to New Haven to Branford to Middletown and Hartford, the shovels are hitting the snow. And the longer you wait, the heavier it gets. Sarah Wilson digs and scrapes and shovels to remove the snow from the sidewalks.

“Yesterday after the snow it was easy scoop it and throw it. Now it is real heavy and it takes twice as long,” she said.

Nearly a half-dozen people died across the mid Atlantic states, heart attacks triggered by shoveling during the blizzard. Doctor Dr. Tom Nowicki at Hartford Hospital says the heavier the snow the more risk for a heart attack.

“The snow shovels tend to be larger than standard shovels. and especially as the snow gets wet, it is quite heavy,” Nowicki said. “So smaller scoops is very important. Shoveling in the snow, it can set off symptoms of a heart attack or a potential heart attack. If you are experiencing those take a break and seek medical attention if that pain continues.”

The symptoms can include chest pain and shortness of breath and the cold weather is working against you. The colder you are the more your blood vessels constrict upping the potential on those at risk. Just ask Jim Tracy Of Cromwell.

Dr. Nowicki says it’s just like exercising and working out, if you don’t do it on a regular basis you must go slow.

“The first key is to take small scoops. Often we see folks who don’t exercise often or the elderly out shoveling. Keep that in mind take frequent breaks if you’re out there,” he said.

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