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updated: 2/3/2014 11:29 AM

Take Precaution When Shoveling Snow

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Jordan Green

DUPAGE COUNTY-- The looming winter storm projected for our area on Tuesday Feb. 4-Wednesday Feb. 5, could potentially leave behind many inches of the white stuff that is causing many of us to scream s-NOOOO-w! The DuPage County Health Department is reminding residents to take certain precautions when shoveling snow in order to stay safe and healthy.

When shoveling:

•Warm up your muscles. Shoveling can be a vigorous activity. Before you begin, warm up your muscles for 10 minutes with light exercise.

•Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and replenish fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, seek emergency care.

•Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long for you. Consider buying a shovel that is specially designed to prevent too much stooping. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage.

•When possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, take small amounts of snow, and lift it with your legs: Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift by straightening your legs, without bending at the waist. Then walk to where you want to dump the snow; holding a shovelful of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine.

•Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.

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