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.