As we are nearly in February, it’s important to be aware of safety when shoveling snow. Believe it or not, certain shoveling practices can help you to avoid frostbite and other cold-related injuries.
Dress for the Weather
Let’s face it, the winter can be cold and wet. One key safety practice when shoveling snow is dressing to fit the weather. In short, this means to dress in layers. Sure, you’ll be knee deep in semi-frozen water, but the goal is to stay as warm and dry as possible.
To safely shovel snow, it’s important to dress warmly and comfortably. This includes wearing multiple layers, two pairs of socks, a hat, gloves, and a scarf to protect yourself from the elements. For children, it’s important to invest in snow pants.
Additionally, don’t forget to wear some waterproof boots and gloves. Over time, your extremities will become wet and cold. This can lead to frostbite. Dressing in layers is the key to success. A hat or gloves can help, but when combined, they provide multiple layers of protection, as we’ve frequently discussed for pool safety.
Avoiding Back Pain While Safely Shoveling Snow
No matter your age, back pain is common when shoveling snow. To prevent this, it is important to follow proper shoveling techniques.
Above all, you should be mindful of your back at all times. For example, try not to lift and throw the snow. This is a common mistake. Instead, try to push the snow out of the walkway. This method will cause less strain on your back. Of course, at times, lifting will be necessary. In these cases, use your legs and try to keep your back straight.
Another tip is to scoop less snow at a time. It may seem like this is a much slower method, but imagine how much longer the job will take if you throw your back out. Slow and steady will always win the day.
Take a Break
As we’ve discussed in the past, taking breaks is valuable for hot sunny days. Well, it is equally important when shoveling snow! While doing any strenuous activity or exercise, it is always important to take frequent breaks. This helps to prevent exhaustion and injury. Don’t try to rush or power through. This can cause all sorts of problems, not least of which is your poor back.
As strong as you may feel, shoveling can be intense work. For this reason, take a break. Step inside to keep warm. In addition, stay hydrated with regular water breaks. If you start feeling dizzy or sick, stop immediately and pay attention to any signs of a potential heart attack. It’s important to be safe and aware of the physical exertion required while shoveling snow.
Taking breaks while shoveling snow can also help you to avoid frostbite, which can occur with prolonged exposure to cold weather. To recognize frostbite, look for pain or stiffness in the affected areas, or pale and shiny skin. In addition, notice any difficulty in feeling your face, ears or extremities. If you suspect frostbite, seek immediate medical attention.