Friday, January 22, 2016

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.  – As local residents brace for what’s expected to be a major winter storm, there are a few preparations aside from stocking up on bread and milk to consider during snowy conditions.

Every year, Americans suffer snow-related injuries, from pulling muscles as they clear snow, to suffering heart attacks while shoveling.  Clearing snow places a great deal of stress on the heart so Dr. Aaron George, of Summit Primary Care, 12 St. Paul Dr., advises people to check with their doctors before attempting to shovel heavy snow. 

“If you are cleared to shovel snow, it’s important to take it slow.  Warm up your muscles before you head out the door, and keep in mind that shoveling snow can be a strenuous activity.  Make sure to push the snow rather than lift it, and to pace yourself,” he said.

If you experience a back injury from shoveling, he recommends rest, ice, and ibuprofen.  If you have severe pain, or neurological symptoms, such as weakness, numbness, or loss of bladder control, you should seek medical attention.

Finally, it’s important to know the signs of a heart attack. 

“Many people think about the heart attacks that are portrayed in the movies, the sudden and intense symptoms,” Dr. George said.  “Many times, heart attacks start slowly with mild pain or discomfort and people aren’t quite sure what is wrong.”

He said signs to look out for include chest discomfort such as pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain’ pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath; breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Summit Health offers several options for emergency care.  If you are experiencing a life-threatening medical issue, you should go to the nearest emergency room.