Ok fellow GlobalMusic4 Life lovers; it is that time of year for many of us. Snow is upon 70% of the country here in America. To that 30% who live in the sunshine states, “raspberries!” You’ll get yours when the storm season hits. We all must pay our dues to Mother Nature. Whether it is fighting the rare hurricane, mud slides, earthquake scares, tornados, etc., that moody gal will do as she darn well pleases.
Here in the Midwest we are in the heat of the snow season. I have to go out and shovel. Yes I have a bad back, yes the old knees are not what they used to be, and no the little boys who used to do it for me don’t think my hard earned ten’r is worth their time. I salt, I push, I shovel, and I bemoan Mother Nature, go inside to hot tea and a hotter bath and prepare for more fun the next day.
This is HEART Attack Snow season. Yes, it starts out light and fluffy and pretty. He kiddies want to stick their eager little tongues out to taste it. Mom’s quickly brush it off the cars on the way to pick up the kiddies from wherever. Men laugh and quickly shove it out the way and go on about their way. No big whoop right?
Wrong. I am in the Chi… aka Chicago and like many Midwest and eastern towns, our weather likes to toy with our emotions. We had three school days off because of cold weather. It was warm ( uh 40 is warm for winter) then cold, snowed, then rain, then more snow. Oh the fun! Slush froze then got covered with heavy fluffy snow, and then we got a wind chill of under 20 for one or two days. Didn’t I say Mother Nature was a trip?
Heart attack snow is just what you think it is. The thick heavy, wet stuff that is hard as heck to move. Every year many folks actually have a heart attack or suffer exhaustion form snow removal. It doesn’t require that you are a 70 year old man with a bad heart. Studies have shown that younger, healthy men have a hard time of it too.
When breathing in cold air your blood vessels become tighter. That means poorer circulation. If you stand still for a while, it is worse because movement gets the blood flowing. There are ample cases of otherwise normally healthy folks becoming ill shoveling snow.
Risk factors: If you are overweight and out of shape, maybe snow shoveling isn’t the activity for you. People with diabetes should be careful, especially those with nerve neuropathy in their extremities, they may not feel when their toes and fingers are too cold. People with high cholesterol are at risk because blood vessels clogged up in the beginning will get even worse with the cold. The same can be said of people with high blood pressure. Cold air and physical exertion for a long period of time can lead to; well it can lead to death or illness.
Sorry the young and healthy will have issues too. Studies have shown that just ten minutes of shoveling snow that is heavy can make blood pressure in young (20-30) men up to 190 where it should be @120 or lower.
So what to do? The snow needs to be moved, period and you have got to do it.
Well there are steps to take. Step one bribe a kid. If that doesn’t work look at these:
- Cover nose and mouth so that you are breathing in warmer air
- Use legs not back when lifting
- Try to push and shove the snow when possible. I push it and then use my legs to nudge it out of the shovel. Rarely do I actually do old school shoveling. All of the snow doesn’t need to be in a perfect pile just moved to the side so people can walk in front of my home.
- Use a broom to sweep steps when possible or a rake covered with a plastic bag and just push or pull it off the steps, be careful and use the banister or carefully walk down the steps and rake the snow toward you and push it to the side at the bottom.
- Dress in layers, make sure you have warm gloves with padded fingers
- Limit outside to 10 minutes at a time; don’t get over exerted or too cold.
- Take your time, this is snow and it will fall again. Hence it is a marathon not a sprint. You want to move 4 inches of wet and white supremo from a 100 foot front walk covered in ice in 10 minutes? Stop playing. Take your time and do it slow. Start in the middle and push to the edges.
- No caffeine infused drinks. I am talking about coffee or hot tea with caffeine. They constrict the blood vessels, no booze either. Hey about some warm milk? Put down your middle finger please. These are just suggestions. I say these things because I care. If you want a hot toddy do it when the job is done not on one of your warm up breaks.
- Invest in snow blower with a few neighbors if it snows regularly, and you like your neighbors. It is a win win for the block.
- Don’t bother to salt if you have super subzero temperatures. Look at the bag, some salts only work at 5 degrees or higher. Get a salt that goes to -20 or etc… probably at a hardware shop not the cheap stuff at the grocery store.
Signs you have gone too far:
- Chest pain
- Neck pain
- Arm pain
- Pain period …
- Tingling in toes, nose, or finger tips get warm quick, frostbite is real and in an elder or diabetic it can come quick and require removal of frostbitten body part
- Any shortness of breath
Bottom line: Take it slow and careful. Snow removal is part of the winter exercise program given to us by Mother Nature. Take the kiddies out, make it fun. Let them stomp the snow down where it is soft and low. Let them sweep it up. Take ten minutes of responsible family fun and then in to warm up! (maybe a little dance in the warm air to keep the blood flowing like on the wiggles!) After an hour of back and forth, call it a day and enjoy some hot cocoa! Yes you may put a splash of rum in it.
How is the winter weather treating you? Let me know! I am at MsMelissa@melissaweblog.com
Love and light ! ( and warmth!)