When a big snowstorm strikes, at some point, we're going to have to dig out from under it.
But snow shoveling injuries land thousands of people in the emergency room every year. In fact, 96-percent of them happen at home
According to Dr. James Sauto of the Cleveland Clinic common injurries can occur as the result of a slip and fall. Dr. Sauto says "Slipping and falling, hitting your hand, causing an injury, a break, a fracture, but at least you’re protecting your head- that’s the most important. Sacrificing a limb, hurting your hand, saving your head, because having your head hit the ice- especially when it comes to black ice and getting a sub dermal hematoma or blood inside the brain can be devastating for a lot of people. "
Sprains, strains, and fractures are always near the top of the list of snow shoveling-related injuries and are usually caused by slipping and twisting. Overexertion is also considered a common cause for emergency room visits after shoveling snow. It can cause dehydration, fatigue, and in some cases... heart attack.
Dr. Sauto says "If you can do something that is light, moderate activity that doesn’t get yourself huffing and puffing too much, that’s fine. But if you have a heart problem, high blood pressure, chronic back problems, those are things you should defer to somebody else to do for you."
Lower back injuries are also at an increaded risk when you're shoveling. They're usually caused when you try to to lift too much snow, or you lift it improperly. And lots of people end up in the ER after being hit by a shovel, typically after slipping. Dr. Sauto says to other thing to remember is to dress properly to prevent hypothermia.
"Dress in layers and as you start getting heated up, take a to layer off to cool off a little bit. If you’re out there a long time and you start to break a sweat, the sweat wets your clothes, now they stay wet. Now they get cold and that’s how you become hypothermic" says Dr. Sauto
Dr. Sauto also says to take freqent breaks to prevent overexertion. And be sure to have the proper footwear to prevent slipping.