Paramedics Report More Cases of Frostbite, Muscle Trauma after Blizzard
Call 9-1-1 if you start to experience chest pain, numbness while shoveling
FARGO, N.D. — Waking up to around 8.5 inches of snow on the ground, Mackenzie Neuhalfen and her brother Zachary got right to work.
“It’s hard only because it’s so heavy and it’s also kind of cold so I mean there’s nothing wrong with shoveling, it was just a lot of snow at one time,” said Neuhalfen.
Some in the metro had a slightly more painful experience clearing their driveways.
“You’re using different muscle groups, so you get out there and you’re shoveling vigorously, and a lot of people are trying to get somewhere at a particular time so they’re pushing themselves harder than they’d usually would. That evening you’re a little sore, the next day you wake up going, ‘oh my gosh, I really did something to myself’,” said Dr. Tony Hamilton, a physician in the emergency department at Essentia Health.
Essentia Health and F–M Ambulance both reported higher instances of cases involving frostbite and injuries related to shoveling.
When you’re out shoveling snow, it’s important to lift with your legs, and keep the shovel head close to your body in order to avoid straining your back.
Health professionals say people can take care of their muscle aches by taking ibuprofen and resting.
However, they are more worried about what happens to your skin when you go outside to shovel without gloves.
“If you start developing blisters, sometimes it turns black or discoloration, those are the type of things that you should come to the emergency department,” said Hamilton.
“If you have to be outside, make sure you are covered up. Every spot of skin that’s exposed has potential for frostbite,” said Don Martin of F-M Ambulance.
Paramedics have some simple advice in order for people trying to avoid frostbite.
“Know your limits. Know how much you should be able to do. Take breaks often, and make sure you hydrate,” Martin said.
Paramedics say if you’re out shoveling and you start to experience chest pains, call 9–1–1 immediately.