Monday, December 21, 2009

Shovel Snow Safely

from the Weather Channel:

By Brendan Farrington

Every winter people hurt themselves shoveling snow, ranging from minor aches and pulled muscles to fatal heart attacks.

What people often fail to realize is that shoveling is more than just a chore. It puts a lot of stress on the body in a short period of time.

Winter Weights

"People don't understand when you start shoveling snow, it's like picking up weights," says Denis Isrow, a North Dakota State University professor of health, physical education and recreation.

So if you're older or out of shape, there's much more of a chance of hurting yourself by shoveling. Even people who regularly exercise can find shoveling to be strenuous if they try to tackle the job quickly without taking breaks.

"One of the biggest problems we have is people saying 'I'm not going to quit until I get this done,'" Isrow says.

Some signs you should stop shoveling are shortness of breath, heavy sweating or any kind of pain.

"Anything that's not normal is a warning sign," he says.

Most at Risk

Julie Garden-Robinson prepared a report for the university's extension service warning that shoveling causes a quick increase in the heart rate and blood pressure.

According to her report, those most at risk during shoveling are people who have had a heart attack, people with a history of heart disease, those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, smokers and people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Garden-Robinson and Isrow give several tips for safe shoveling:

Use a smaller shovel

Make sure your shovel isn't bent, tilting or otherwise damaged

Take frequent breaks, even if only for a couple of minutes

Stop and go inside if you become overheated

Drink fluids

Don't try to fling snow long distances

Stop any time you feel pain
If you fear you're unable to tackle this tiring task, look into spending a few bucks and having a neighborhood kid shovel after a storm; or having a contractor plow it when heavy snow falls. It's probably money well spent.

Monday, December 14, 2009

STROKE: Signs, symptoms, what to do

6.5 million non-hospitalized Americans suffer a stroke every year. That's nearly 3 per cent of our population. The chances of you being present when someone suffers an attack are pretty good. Do you know the signs of a stroke? Do you know what you can do to help?
RECOGNIZE the signs: Sudden numbness/weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially if only on one side; Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding; Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; Sudden loss of balance, coordination or trouble walking; Sudden severe headache with no obvious known cause.
Remember STR: Ask them to Smile; Talk: Ask them to repeat a simple sentence; ask them to Raise both arms. Trouble with -Any- of these is strong indication they've had a stroke.
CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY: They may balk at that, but let the EMT deal with that. Getting a stroke victim proper medical care quickly is the single most important thing you can do. Neurological evidence shows that getting proper medical care within a few hours of the stroke is vital.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

National Hand Washing Week!

National Hand Washing Week is always the first week in December. With the news outlets blaring about this illness and that, this is a great time to remember that the easiest, and often most effective, way to prevent the spread of any illness is to...can you guess? Of course it's wash your hands! According to the US Centers for Disease Control, "Hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection." Hand-to-other transmission is a critical factor in the spread of bacteria and viruses that can cause disease such as colds, flu and foodborne illness. According to St. Lawrence University, you should pay particular attention when: after coughing or sneezing (if you covered your nose or mouth with your hand); before, during, and after you prepare food; before you eat; and after you use the bathroom; when your hands are dirty; and more often when someone you live with is sick.
Sites to visit are:; or (the originators of this 'celebration').
-Yours in health, Life Care Center & Dr. Sharman