Snow has impacted numerous parts of the country this week, and people are no doubt in the process of coming out of their homes to assess the damage and clear away their residences. If you are one of those people that have found themselves affected by a snowstorm, then take steps to protect yourself should you go outside. Some safety tips from the Snow and Ice Management Association should help you accomplish this feat.
First, prepare yourself before you go outside. Take the the time to put on those winter clothing items that could keep you warm. When you throw on gloves, shirts, a hat, and more, make sure they’re all made of materials that promote the evaporation of sweat rather than hinder that process. Wool and other heavier materials will trap in moisture and cause you to get colder the longer you’re outside. Outer layers of looser, lightweight clothes can be taken off as you warm up so that the cold doesn’t make your sweat feel even chillier.
You shouldn’t underestimate the strain that shoveling snow can put on your body. The cold actually increases the chance of an injury, so you’ll want to do plenty of stretching before heading outdoors.
Also invest in a decent pair of boots. A simple pair of tennis shoes won’t cut it, as the lack of traction could force you to take a tumble and hurt yourself. Waterproof boots, on the other hand, will keep you warm and give you the grip you need to limit the danger of a slip and fall injury.
Perhaps the best way to stay safe is not to shovel at all. You’re less likely to suffer an overexertion injury if you opt to purchase a snowblower. These have their own precautions that must be taken, of course, but following the directions of the manufacturer should hopefully protect you from harm. A snowblower could improve your productivity and save you energy.
However, we obviously recognize that not everyone out there has a snowblower, and thus a good old-fashioned shovel will have to be used. But make sure you’re shoveling the right way. Repeated lifting is an easy way to cause an injury. Instead, you should place your shovel on the ground and push the snow forward. You expend less energy this way, and your body won’t feel the pain the way it otherwise would. And if the snowfall was particularly heavy, don’t overdo things just to get done quickly. Shovel a little from the top first, and then come back to do the second (or third, or fourth) layer.
Finally, drink plenty of water. Give yourself a break every once in a while, and just generally do what you can to protect yourself from harm.