The first snowfall of the year has left Montrealers with as much as thirty centimetres of snow to clear, and more is on the way. But shoveling snow can be dangerous, even fatal to some. Dr Magdi Sami, MUHC cardiologist has the following advice:
- If you are elderly, generally unwell or not used to rigorous physical activity or if you suffer from anyone of these conditions: High Blood pressure, diabetes, angina or you have had a previous heart attack or attacks of irregular heart rhythm, then you should avoid shoveling snow. Call a professional to do it. “Even if you are capable, take frequent breaks, keep warm and STOP if you feel short of breath, chest discomfort, dizziness or palpitations (a sensation of irregular heart beats),” says Sami. If any of these symptoms persist for more than 5 minutes after stopping it may be advisable to seek immediate medical attention.
- It is also better to shovel small quantities of snow at one time, as trying to scoop a large amount and pulling against a strong resistance can indeed put an undue stress on your heart.
About the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)
The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University––the Montreal Children’s, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, as well as the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge.