Winter Weather Hazards - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Winter Weather Hazards

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CODY, WYOMING -

A Cody orthopedist said this is the worst winter season for injuries that he as seen in 24 years. Winter weather can be hazardous to your health, especially snow shoveling.

Here it comes, again. Another snowstorm. Even before walks and streets can be cleared from last weekend's storm. And, this could be hazardous to your health.

Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Stephen Emery, pointed to a replica of a spine, and said, "The back joints, they're very weak in rotation."

Dr. Emery said there are two kinds of injuries that winter weather causes. One is caused by shoveling snow.

He explained, "So when you twist your body with a full load of snow with a snow shovel, you put your body at the ultimate risk."

But if you haven't cleared all the snow off your walk and drive, then you face another hazard: Ice.

Dr. Emery said the most serious injuries are caused by people slipping and falling. He said, "This year has caused a record number of surgeries for me. Wrist, pelvis, fractures, back fractures."

Shoveling snow presents another possible hazard: heart attacks. The staff cardiologist for West Park Hospital says you are particularly at risk if you smoke or are overweight.

Cardiologist Dr. Andrew Rashkow said, "Cold makes your arteries constrict. Walking through snow or shoveling snow causes extra strain on your heart, and can lead to a heart attack."

If you must shovel after the next snowstorm, Dr. Emery says you should hold the shovel close to your body, and lift smaller loads of snow. Both physicians say you should take a break every fifteen minutes.

Dr. Rashkow advises, "If you have concerns about your heart, maybe see your physician before you go out and do heavy exertional work, and do what I did. Get somebody else to plow your driveway."

Doctors say you should avoid shoveling when you first get up in the morning. You should wait at least thirty minutes and warm up first.

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