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Whether you're navigating icy pathways, clearing snow, or enjoying outdoor activities, it's essential to ensure safety when winter weather sets in.

Here are some valuable tips on staying safe during snowy conditions.


Frostbite occurs when skin and underlying tissues freeze, typically in extremities like fingers, toes, nose, and ears. To safeguard against frostbite:

  • Layer Up: Dress in warm layers and cover exposed skin. Don't forget a hat and gloves.
  • Stay Dry: Wet clothing increases the risk of frostbite. Wear insulated, waterproof gloves and boots, and quickly change into dry clothes if you get wet.
  • Limit Exposure: Minimize time spent outdoors in extreme cold, especially when the wind chill is low.
  • Watch for Warning Signs: Stay vigilant for early signs of frostbite, such as numbness or tingling, and seek warmth immediately.
  • Seek Medical Help: If you suspect frostbite, promptly contact your primary care physician or visit an urgent care facility.
Snow Shoveling

Shoveling snow might seem like a routine task, but it can strain the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attacks, especially in individuals with pre-existing conditions. Take these precautions:

  • Talk to Your Doctor: If you have heart problems or other health concerns, consult with a healthcare professional before shoveling snow.
  • Warm-Up: Begin with a few minutes of light stretching to prepare your muscles for the activity.
  • Proper Technique and Tools: Bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back. Use a lightweight, ergonomic shovel and, whenever possible, Push the snow instead of lifting it. Avoid twisting with your back.
  • Take Breaks: Pace yourself and take frequent breaks to rest and hydrate.
  • Listen to Your Body: If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness while shoveling, stop and seek medical attention immediately.

"Symptoms like chest pain shouldn't be ignored. It's important that you recognize the warning signs of cardiovascular distress, and quickly seek evaluation by a cardiologist or other emergency care provider," says Dr. Stephen Angeli, Holy Name Interventional Cardiologist.

Snowblower Safety

Snow blowers are powerful tools designed to make snow removal easier, but they also pose a serious risk of injury. To prevent accidents:

  • Read the Manual: Familiarize yourself with your snowblower's user manual. Each model can have unique features and safety instructions.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear warm, layered clothing. Don't forget gloves, safety glasses, and sturdy, slip-resistant boots.
  • Clear the Area: Before starting your snowblower, make sure the area is free of debris and obstacles that could be thrown by the machine.
  • Mind the Exhaust: Be mindful of gas-powered snowblower's exhaust. People and pets can be poisoned by carbon monoxide in the exhaust.
  • Avoid the Blade: Keep hands and feet away from the “blades” of the internal mechanism. Always turn off the snow blower before attempting any maintenance or unclogging. Use a tool, not your hands, to clear snow jams.

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the beauty of winter while minimizing the risks associated with snow-related tasks. Stay safe and warm!

Holy Name Emergency Care is rated the best in New Jersey for patient satisfaction. For more information, visit holyname.org/EmergencyCare