Last updated: August 23. 2013 6:44AM - 166 Views

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LIMA — Maintaining vacant bank-owned homes for a real estate company means certain dangers year round — dogs and squatters mainly.

At this time of year, however, Randy Waters also guards against the cold: “Layers, big gloves, $300 boots,” Waters said before snowblowing at an Oakland Parkway house.

Fit and 38 years old, Waters said he doesn’t worry too much about over-exerting himself, but he might want to think about it. So also should others tackling that drifting snow and ever-thickening icicles from this week, experts say. More snow, which means more work, is predicted for Sunday night.

Anyone over 50 is at greater risk, but people of all ages should be careful, said Cheryl Wayman, a physician’s assistant with Lincoln Family Practice in Wapakoneta.

“The key would be being aware of your body,” Wayman said. “A lot of people having problems are those who feel like they have to do it; they don’t want to burden anyone else with that chore. A lot of people finish a job even though they don’t feel well and end up in trouble.”

Feeling nauseated, pressure in the chest, short of breath or sweaty are signs to stop shoveling or working, Wayman said. And if those things don’t go away in 10 minutes, it’s time to call 911.

Work with small amounts of snow and in small amounts of time, with many breaks, Wayman said, adding a dose of common sense many don’t follow: “If you’re not feeling good, don’t do it.”

A New Knoxville man died earlier this month, suffering an apparent heart attack while snowblowing. It is the only known death attributed to recent snow storms in the region.

Lincoln and Lima Memorial Health System’s emergency center are seeing typical winter injuries —mainly twisted or broken ankles, wrists and elbows from falls and even sledding accidents.

On stormy days, the hospital will always see people who fall on the ice, many times because an area wasn’t salted or people weren’t wearing slip-proof shoes or boots, said Linda Bernath, assistant clinical manager of the emergency center.

However, this recent string of storms hasn’t brought any more injury than usual.

“We’ve not seen an increase over other winters, but that’s a good thing,” Bernath said. “It means maybe people are being more careful out there.”




• Check with your doctor before shoveling or blowing. If you have a medical condition, hire someone.

• Dress with light, layered, water-repellent clothing, hat, mittens and thick socks.

• Clear snow early and often to avoid dealing with packed, heavy snow.

• Warm up your muscles first with 10 minutes of light exercise.

• Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.

• Try to push snow instead of lifting it.

• Never stick your hands in the snowblower. If it jams, stop the engine and wait at least five seconds. Use a solid object to clear the chute. Beware the recoil of the motor and blades after the machine is off.

Source: American Orthopaedic Surgeons

Shovel with care: Avoid injury, illness by paying attention to symptoms

Shovel with care: Avoid injury, illness by paying attention to symptoms
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