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Snow Shoveling Safety
Cold & Flu Advice
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December 2019
Thousands of people are admitted to the emergency room every year as a result of shoveling snow. And while most people won't have a problem, shoveling snow can put you at risk for injuries such as heart attack and back strain. 

Here are some tips for  safer snow shoveling 
  • Be heart conscious.  If you have a history of heart problems and are currently inactive, it's best to speak with your health care provider before shoveling. Additionally, don't shovel while smoking, eating or after consuming caffeine; this may place extra stress on your heart.
  • Dress Warm.  Wear several layers of clothing. You can always remove a layer if needed.
  • Drink plenty of water.  Remaining hydrated during cold-weather months is just as important as during warm-weather months.
  • Warm up your arms and legs.  Stretch your arms and legs before beginning to shovel. You are less likely to injure muscles when they are warm.
  • Take it slow.  Pace yourself and take breaks if you need to. Safety is more important than speed.
  • Protect your back.  Bend at the knees, not the back. Lift with your legs bent, stand with your feet hip-width apart for balance and keep the shovel close to your body. Also, don't pick up too much snow at once; use a small shovel or fill up a large shovel no more than half way.
  • Shovel while snow is fresh.  Freshly fallen snow is lighter than snow that has started melting.
  • Listen to your body.  This is the most important snow shoveling tip. If something feels abnormal, or if you're tired, it's time to stop.
  • If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.
Source: Mayo Clinic
"When should I see my doctor if I have a cold or flu?"  This is a common question; however, there is no simple answer to this question. 

Most patients with a cold or flu will  recover just fine without ever having to see their doctor.  Unfortunately, that is not the case for every patient.  

A serious cold or flu can be dangerous, especially if:
  • you are age 65 or older
  • you have a chronic medical condition (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease)
  • you have a compromised immune system
  • you are pregnant or up to two weeks' postpartum
If you are a high risk individual or have any concerns about your cold or flu symptoms, it's recommended that you call your physician for advice and possible appointment.

The physicians and staff of Foxhall Internists wish you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season.