NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With a historic blizzard pounding the Tri-State Area Monday and Tuesday, there are a number of health concerns to be on the watch for – especially for anyone shoveling snow.
As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, orthopedic and musculoskeletal injuries are actually the most common in this weather, from falls and from shoveling snow. But snow shoveling is also infamous for leading to heart attacks, which, of course, can be fatal.READ MORE: 'I'm Very Cautious:' Harlem Community Responds To Adams' Plan To Restore Anti-Crime Unit
The first reason that snow shoveling can be dangerous is that most of us do it only a couple times a year, so the average person is not exactly in shape for it.
But experts noted that shoveling also can put a serious strain on the heart.
“When you shovel snow, you use every single major muscle group, and what happens is it really requires a lot of oxygen delivered to those muscles. So it takes away delivery to the heart if, in fact, there’s a heart problem,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital. “So shoveling snow might be an activity that unmasks underlying heart disease.”READ MORE: NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora Remains Hospitalized After Harlem Shooting; Sources Say Suspect Had Multiple Guns Hidden Under Mattress
But if you are going to shovel, experts had a few things to remember.
First, snow shoveling is more than exercise. It is, in fact, manual labor, and like any physical activity, you need to warm up and start slow.
You are also advised to take frequent breaks while shoveling, and finally, watch for heart symptoms. They may include chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness.
If you have any of those symptoms, you must stop shoveling, get inside, call your doctor, or call 911 if symptoms do not go away.MORE NEWS: Police: Woman Attacked By Would-Be Rapist Inside Queens Elevator
But the safest option is to find someone with a snowblower, or a teenager whom you can pay to shovel for you.