Back to Top Skip to main content

The simple – and complicated – task of shoveling snow

Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Seifridsberger shovels knee-deep snow to build a simulated hasty firing position during training exercise Ready Force Breach at Fort Drum, New York. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Andrew Carroll) Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Seifridsberger shovels knee-deep snow to build a simulated hasty firing position during training exercise Ready Force Breach at Fort Drum, New York. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Andrew Carroll)

Recommended Content:

Winter Safety | Reserve Health Readiness Program | Health Readiness | Physical Activity

Mother Nature has spoken and the winter storm has arrived. Now it’s time for the hard part: clearing a driveway or sidewalk covered in snow. Depending on the temperature and amount of snow to be moved, such a task can be daunting, and without proper precautions, painful as well. There are, however, ways to clear snow safely.

According to Army Col. Cynthia Perry, a physician at Guthrie Ambulatory Health Clinic in Fort Drum, New York, an area accustomed to harsh, snowy winters, the most important consideration when preparing to shovel snow is dressing properly for the weather. Layers of clothing for warmth, non-skid shoes or boots to help prevent falls, and gloves to protect hands and fingers, are all part of the equation.

“Ensure you’re wearing layers that can be removed or loosened, if needed,” said Perry. “Cold injury to extremities makes us less stable, certainly less dexterous, and hampers coordination of fingers and feet, creating an environment for slips, trips, and falls.” Perry also advised wearing bright colors for visibility and making sure to tell someone that you will be outdoors shoveling to ensure if a mishap occurs, help is nearby.

“Snow shoveling is akin to a vigorous aerobic workout, so a person’s overall health is key to preventing injuries,” said Army Lt. Col. Michael S. Crowell, chief, Physical Therapy, Keller Army Community Hospital and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. “Someone in good physical health year-round is going to have an easier time shoveling than someone who is in poor health or not a regular exerciser.”

Snow shoveling injuries can span a wide spectrum, from the nuisance of a sore back or shoulder to a life-threatening cardiac event.

“Many people’s bodies are unaccustomed to the physical exertion required to shovel snow,” said Perry, ‘but those with heart disease risk factors, such as uncontrolled blood pressure, or people who smoke have to be extra careful.” Perry suggested that trying to carry on a conversation while shoveling snow is an effective way to check exertion level. “If you find yourself out of breath, take a break.”

According to Crowell, another group can be vulnerable to cardiac or musculoskeletal snow-shoveling injuries. “Youth doesn’t make you invincible to injury,” he said. “I’ve treated young soldiers with wrist or collarbone fractures or other injuries that could be prevented with some common sense.”

The body’s ability to adjust to cold weather is another important injury risk, especially for those unaccustomed to such climates. “This is especially true for members of the military who often deploy to a variety of locations and climates,” says Crowell. “Even learning to walk on snow and ice is a skill.”

Some additional expert tips: Try not to scoop the snow; push it instead. Break shoveling into multiple short segments to minimize exposure to the cold and to give the body time to rest and recover. Or perhaps the best option of all: find a willing helper to do the shoveling for you.

You also may be interested in...

Vasectomy

Infographic
3/20/2019
Vasectomy

There are few published studies of vasectomy and vasectomy reversal among the U.S. military population. To address these gaps, the current analysis describes the overall and annual incidence rates of vasectomy among active component service men during 2000–2017 by demographic and military characteristics and by type of surgical vas isolation procedure used. In addition, the median age at incident vasectomy and the time between incident vasectomy and first vasectomy reversal are described.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Male Infertility

Infographic
3/20/2019
Male Infertility

The current report updates and expands on the findings of the previous MSMR analysis of infertility among active component service men. Specifically, the current report summarizes the frequencies, rates, temporal trends, types of infertility, and demographic and military characteristics of infertility among active component service men during 2013–2017.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Airmen perform in-flight Transportation Isolation System training

Article
3/14/2019
A C-17 Globemaster III is prepped to transport a Transportation Isolation System during a training exercise that allows Airmen to practice the most effective and safest form of transportation for patients and their medical professionals. Engineered and implemented after the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the TIS is an enclosure the Defense Department can use to safely transport patients with highly contagious diseases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Miller)

This mission capability is the only one of its kind in the Department of Defense

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Technology

DHA IPM 19-003: Reserve Health Readiness Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (i): • Provides utilization guidance and funding requirements for the RHRP contract to supplement Reserve Component Individual Medical Readiness (IMR) and Deployment Health activities when Service organic health readiness resources are not available to meet mission requirements. • Provides utilization guidance and funding requirements for the RHRP contract for Active Duty enrolled in TRICARE Prime Remote, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), USCG Reserves, and re-deploying DoD civilians (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command). • Communicate procedure guidance to all DoD organizations utilizing RHRP services. • Will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue and be converted to a DHA-Procedural Instruction.

  • Identification #: 19-003
  • Date: 3/8/2019
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Health Readiness

Sudden cardiac death in young athletes

Article
3/7/2019
High school basketball requires skill and rigorous training. In rare but highly publicized cases, it can also bring cardiac issues to the surface. (U.S. Army photo by Chuck Gannon)

Sudden cardiac events can occur in seemingly healthy young people in their teens or twenties, including young servicemembers

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments | Health Readiness | Heart Health | Preventive Health

Military health leaders take part in inaugural American Red Cross Advanced Life Support class

Article
3/4/2019
“It was important to me to have firsthand knowledge of the American Red Cross curriculum we’ll be rolling out to the rest of the MHS,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Sharon Bannister, Deputy Assistant Director for Education and Training. Bannister said being able to train and test alongside students in their third year of medical school was one of the best parts of the day. (MHS photo)

The transition to the American Red Cross Resuscitation Suite officially began October 1, 2018

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Malaria

Infographic
3/1/2019
Malaria

Since 1999, the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report has published regular updates on the incidence of malaria among U.S. service members. The MSMR’s focus on malaria reflects both historical lessons learned about this mosquito-borne disease and the continuing threat that it poses to military operations and service members’ health.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Adenovirus

Infographic
3/1/2019
Adenovirus

During August–September 2016, U.S. Naval Academy clinical staff noted an increase in students presenting with acute respiratory illness (ARI). An investigation was conducted to determine the extent and cause of the outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Glaucoma

Infographic
3/1/2019
Glaucoma

This report describes an analysis using the Defense Medical Surveillance System to identify all active component service members with an incident diagnosis of glaucoma during the period between 2013 and 2017.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 26 No. 3 - March 2019

Report
3/1/2019

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000–2017; Cardiovascular disease-related medical evacuations, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 1 October 2001– 31 December 2017; Acute flaccid myelitis: Case report; Historical perspective: Leptospirosis outbreaks affecting military forces

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Air Force units partner for aeromedical evacuation exercise

Article
2/27/2019
Airmen from the 384th Air Refueling Squadron and 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron pause after completing set-up and loading of a KC-135 Stratotanker for a AE exercise near Kadena Air Base, Japan. While pilots are in charge of flying a KC-135, refueling boom operators are in charge of the rest of the aircraft, which can be fitted for cargo, passenger transport or medical support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

With a critical care mission spanning half the globe, practicing is vital to patient survivability

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

The eyes have it: Seven tips for maintaining vision

Article
2/25/2019
Army Reserve Spc. Brianne Coots performs an exam during a readiness training event in 2018 at Kea’au, Hawaii. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Stephanie Ramirez)

Most eye injuries are preventable, experts say

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Vision Loss

Military health care transitions to new life support training provider

Article
2/20/2019
Navy Chief Petty Officer Wendy Wright, a hospital corpsman chief assigned to Expeditionary Medical Facility Great Lakes in Illinois, performs ventilation techniques on a practice mannequin while participating in a life support simulation in Savannah, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caila Arahood)

American Red Cross courses better suited to military needs

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Emergency Preparedness and Response

MSMR Vol. 26 No. 2 - February 2019

Report
2/1/2019

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000–2017; Cardiovascular disease-related medical evacuations, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 1 October 2001– 31 December 2017; Acute flaccid myelitis: Case report; Historical perspective: Leptospirosis outbreaks affecting military forces

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Army Medicine joins forces with civilian hospitals to sustain medical readiness

Article
1/31/2019
Army Brig. Gen. Telita Crosland, RHC-Atlantic Commanding General, signs letter of commitment Jan. 18 recognizing the partnership between Army Medicine and Cooper University Health Care to provide advanced surgical trauma training allowing Army medical professionals to sustain their trauma skills by working alongside civilian counterparts at high-volume Level 1 trauma centers. Cooper joins the Oregon Health & Science University as one of the two trauma centers partnering with Army Medicine. (Courtesy photo by Cooper University Health Care )

The AMCT3 program addresses the 2017 NDAA directive for the Military Health System to establish partnerships to maintain trauma care competency

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Civil Military Medicine
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 of 41

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.