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Snow Shoveling Injuries

Shoveling Snow Injures Thousands Each Year

By Kelli Miller
A new 17-year study published in this month’s American Journal of Emergency Medicine details the most common health hazards associated with shoveling snow. Snow shoveling can sometimes lead to bad backs, broken bones, head injuries, and even deadly heart problems.“Not only is the heart’s workload increased due to shoveling snow, but cold temperatures also add to the chances of a heart attack in at-risk individuals,” study researcher Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, says in a news release.

Common Snow Shoveling Injuries

The research team looked at snow shoveling injuries and medical emergencies in the U.S. from 1990 to 2006 using information from a national database. During that time, about 195,000 people in the U.S. were treated in a hospital emergency room for a snow shoveling injury.

Among the study findings:

  • Overworking your muscles, falling, and being hit with the shovel were the most common reasons for getting hurt.
  • Muscle, ligament, tendon, and other soft tissue injuries topped the list of snow shoveling mishaps. Among these, lower back injuries were common.
  • Other common snow shoveling injuries included cuts and broken bones. The arms and hands were the most likely body regions to sustain a bone fracture.

 Snow Shoveling and Children

Most snow shoveling injuries occurred in adult men. However, more than 700 injuries occurred in children under 19. Children were nearly 15 times more likely than adults to be hurt because they were hit by a snow shovel. Most of these injuries were head injuries.“Shoveling snow can be a great outdoor activity for kids; however, it is important for parents to teach children the correct way to shovel snow and remind them that shovels are not toys,” Smith, says in the news release. “Many of the snow shovel-related injuries to children are the result of horseplay or other inappropriate uses of snow shovels.” For additional info http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20110120/snow-shoveling-injures-thousands-each-year#1

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