(NC) For many Canadians shoveling snow is their least favourite winter chore. Research has also shown that it can be deadly.
Research completed at Queen's University in Kingston that found a clear link between shoveling snow and sudden cardiac events. The research also suggested that the risk for men was four times that of women and also four times greater if the person had a family history of heart disease.
The culprits are cold air, which puts extra strain on our hearts; the burst of start-and-stop effort; and the fact that most people don't warm up their muscles in advance.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation also suggests the following tips:
• Don't shovel immediately after waking up or after eating a meal.
• Walk around for a few minutes or marching in place to warm up.
• Don't shovel after drinking coffee or alcohol; drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
• Cover your head and neck, as well as your mouth to warm the cold air slightly when breathing in.
• Take it easy! Clear the driveway in stages, don't overload the shovel and take a break if you feel out of breath. Just like you wouldn't run a marathon without training for it, don't try to clear all the snow in one session if you are in less than top physical shape.
Emergency medical officials urge people to talk to their doctors before shoveling season. If you've previously experienced a heart attack, stroke, or had heart surgery in the past, then you may want to ask a family member or neighbour for help.
It's also important for Canadians to learn how to recognize SCA and to be ready, willing and able to jump in and take fast action. Immediately delivering CPR (to keep the blood flowing) and using a defibrillator within five minutes gives the best chance for survival. The Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator is the only new-generation defibrillator specifically designed for the home. The unit is safe can be used by virtually anyone in an emergency.
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