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Shoveling snow necessary but doctor's say to use caution - KOAM TV 7

Shoveling snow necessary but doctor's say to use caution

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Mercy Hospital says they see many snow related injuries every year and that many of them are preventable.

Shoveling snow from sidewalks and parking lots is necessary to get business back to normal for many owners but not taking proper precautions can lead to dangerous results.

Bobby Wells and some friends started a business shoveling parking lots and sidewalks for Joplin businesses three years ago.  Wells says he knows the dangers but time is money.

"If you take a break you don't make any money, so I don't," says Wells.  "My helpers take more breaks than me but I just get the job done and get to the next one before I freeze to death."

But doctors at Mercy Hospital say to be careful.

"I've seen many, many heart attacks and some really tragic heart attacks where an older family member has called and asked his younger children to help shovel the snow and not showed up and then dropped dead of a heart attack," says Dr. Jim Riscoe, an emergency room doctor at Mercy.

Dr. Riscoe suggest people wear proper attire when weathering the temperatures. He suggests wearing coats and insulated boots even if you are going to just warm up your vehicle. He says getting unexpectedly stuck can quickly lead to hypothermia.

"People around here tend to take the weather laissez faire and don't always dress accordingly, knowing they can walk to their car or walk to work and not be exposed very long," says Dr. Riscoe.  "But all it takes is go outside and slip and you can get hypothermic in a hurry."

That is why Don Henderson, the manager of Missouri Loan Center, says he decided to hire Wells in the first place.

"It's pretty hard to do it yourself and as you get older you've got to pace yourself when you're doing it," Henderson says.  "There is a lot of deaths with people trying to do it themselves."

A problem Wells doesn't seem to have.

"I don't seem to have a problem slipping and falling - I guess it comes with age," says Wells.

Dr. Riscoe agrees.  He says those over the age of 50 who have a history of hypertension, diabetes or heart problems should hire people like Wells to do the job for them because shoveling wet snow is just about the worst thing you can do for your heart.

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