We have only had a few inches of snow in our area so far this winter, but we all know it's coming. One thing that I didn't think of, is according to the below article, you should never have an alcoholic drink prior to shoveling.

Luckily in our house Lauren doesn't drink and she primarily takes care of the outside so that's not an issue for us. I thought besides a cup of coffee or tea, that it wouldn't hurt someone to have something stronger prior to dealing with snow, however, it turns out that it's a very, very bad thing to do.

We've always been told to make sure that we push and not lift the snow or preferably to use a snow blower and to take breaks. We are also supposed to avoid a heavy meal since the stomach attracts more blood towards the gut and away from the heart. And that we need to stretch before and after dealing with the snow.

However, you also need to avoid alcohol prior to shoveling because it can constrict blood vessels which create back pressure on the heart. It’s simply not safe. (It does not say anything about having a drink afterwards to warm up so that’s good.)

“The heart is pumping blood through a complex branch of arteries. Smaller arteries in your legs and arms constrict in the cool weather, and this puts a strain on the heart,” says Dr. Shoeb Sitafalwall, a cardiologist and Chief Medical Officer at Advocate Good Sheperd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “In addition to this, lifting a heavy amount of snow increases the heart rate and oxygen demand. This combination can be lethal in a person with a pre-existing heart disease.”

“If you don’t know you may be at risk for heart disease, you should pay attention to some red flags, such as chest pain, discomfort or nausea when you exert yourself, shortness of breath or severe fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should check with your physician before shoveling snow,” says Dr. Sitafalwalla.

So if you have been out for a fun evening of indulging and get home only to find several inches of snow at your home, be sensible and wait for a few hours or until morning to deal with it.

Let's all be extra safe this winter!

Source: excerpt from Advocate Aurora eHealth News

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