10 of the Worst Winter Health Hazards

From falls to frost bite -- how to sidestep potential perils this season (11 Photos)

Jill Provost on Feb 7, 2011 at 12:41PM

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10 of the Worst Winter Health Hazards

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Dig Out of Trouble

Digging out from a snowstorm can be a literal pain in the neck, back, and just about every other body part. A recent study found that 11,500 people visit the emergency room each winter for shoveling-related injuries. In addition to pulled muscles and herniated discs, heart attacks are just as big a risk. Cardiac events jump 20 percent after every major snowstorm. What you can do: Treat shoveling like the endurance challenge it is. If you have heart disease or are at risk for it (you’re overweight or have diabetes, high cholesterol or hypertension), consult your doctor first. Once you get the okay, warm up first by jogging in place. Practice safe-lifting techniques such as bending at the knees, not the waist. And  try to move small amounts of snow at a time, even if it means more trips. A loaded shovel can weigh close to 20 pounds on average!

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