BALTIMORE, MD (WBFF) -- Protect your heart in the snow.
The American Heart Association says, shoveling snow may not lead to any health problems but it is important to know how weather can affect your heart, especially if you have cardiovascular disease.
Some people who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain some people's heart.
Many people aren't used to the physical stress of strenuous outdoor activities and don't know the potential dangers of being outdoors in cold weather.
Tips to help make snow removal safer:
- Give yourself a break. Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don’t over stress your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
- Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait to call 9-1-1
- Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.
- Consult a doctor if you have a medical concern or question or if you are experiencing symptoms of a medical condition (such as heart disease or diabetes), prior to exercising in cold weather - especially if this is a substantial increase over your usual level of activity.
- Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of your body’s heat can be lost through your head.
- Learn CPR. Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. Hands-only CPR makes it easier than ever to save a life. If an adult suddenly collapses, call 9-1-1 and begin pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim’s chest until help arrives.
To keep warm, wear layers of clothing. This traps air between layers, forming a protective insulation. Also, wear a hat or head scarf. Heat can be lost through your head. And ears are especially prone to frostbite. Keep your hands and feet warm, too, as they tend to lose heat rapidly.