Tuesday, January 16, 2024

When winter weather arrives, it’s important to take the appropriate steps to prevent injuries and understand when to seek medical attention.

University of Iowa Health Care offers these nine tips to shovel safely this season.

  1. Be proactive. If you know a winter storm is coming, consider salting your driveway in advance. 

  2. Be careful in icy conditions. Slipping and falling when shoveling or starting your snow blower can cause injury.

  3. Don't ignore chest pain. Snow shoveling produces a significant risk for heart attack. Pain in the left shoulder and tightness in the chest should not be ignored! There is no shoulder injury from shoveling that causes chest tightness or pain. It is your heart. Stop shoveling! 

  4. Choose an ergonomic shovel to remove snow. The contoured handles are designed to reduce bending and decrease lifting. Just be careful to not load up too much.

  5. Use proper shoveling technique. Push the snow instead of lifting it, and be sure not to overload the shovel. Avoid twisting or throwing snow over your shoulder.

  6. Don’t overdo it. Shovel smaller amounts of snow at a time and stay hydrated.

  7. Shovel difficult areas before you get tired. Don’t save the end of the driveway for the end of your shoveling.

  8. Take breaks. Resist the temptation of thinking “I just have a little bit left” and over doing it. It takes much longer to recover from injury/surgery than it does to just clear the rest of the driveway later.

  9. Remember, it’s not a competition. There is no gold medal for cleanest driveway.