TUESDAY, Jan. 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- As an Arctic front envelops much of the United States, the American Heart Association wants folks to know that shoveling snow in sub-freezing temperatures can be hard on the heart, especially for those with heart disease.
Here are some shoveling safety tips from the association:
- When shoveling, take frequent breaks so you don't put too much stress on your heart. Assess how you feel during those breaks.
- Don't drink alcohol before, during or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol can increase your sensation of warmth, and cause you to underestimate the amount of strain your body is feeling.
- To prevent hypothermia (a dangerous drop in body temperature), wear layers of warm clothing that trap your body heat. Wear a hat to prevent the loss of body heat through your head.
- If you have a medical concern or question, or have symptoms of a medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes, you should consult a doctor before shoveling or exercising in cold weather.
- Know the warning signs of heart attack. But even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Don't wait to call 9-1-1. Minutes matter in a heart attack, and fast action can be a lifesaver.
- Learn CPR. It can significantly improve a victim's chances of survival. If an adult collapses, call 9-1-1 and begin pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim's chest until help arrives, the heart association said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on winter health and safety (https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html ).
SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, December 2017