• By Dana Sparks

Slipping, Sliding and Snow Shoveling Season

January 6, 2015

shoveling snow on pavement
Shoveling snow can provide good exercise when done correctly but can prove harmful if people try to take on more than they can handle or use faulty techniques.

Here are some tips from physicians at Mayo Clinic Health System for injury-free snow shoveling:

• If you're inactive and have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor ... stop if you feel tightness in your chest. Heart attacks increase significantly in the winter months, particularly while people are shoveling snow.
• Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as possible when you exert yourself in cold winter months as it is in the summer.
• Dress warmly. Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as needed.
• Do not shovel while eating or smoking. Avoid caffeine or nicotine before you begin shoveling. This may place extra stress on the heart.

• Take it slow! Pace yourself and take breaks. Keep a cell phone handy in case of emergency.
• Don’t pick up too much snow at once. Use a small shovel, or fill it only one-fourth to one-half if you use a large shovel. If necessary, just push the snow as you shovel. It is easier on your back. Keep the load of snow as close to you as possible.
• Protect your back. Bend from the knees, not your back. Lift with your legs bent, stand with your feet about hip width for balance and keep the shovel close to your body. Try not to twist. If you move the snow to one side move your feet to face the direction the snow will be going.
• Clear snow as soon as it stops falling. Freshly fallen snow is lighter.
• Most importantly – listen to your body! Stop if you feel tired.

To interview a Mayo expert about snow-related injuries contact:
Mayo Clinic Public Affairs
507-284-5005 
newsbureau@mayo.edu

You can ask for an escort; however, they will only escort you on mayo only premises. How are we supposed to protect ourselves if we have to park farther away? Why are we not allowed to carry pepper spray?

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Elissa: You are correct that Security will not provide escorts beyond the property. We certainly can’t guarantee your safety everywhere – but by taking some personal responsibility and observing the tips cited in this article, you dramatically reduce your risk of being a victim. Pepper spray is considered a weapon and according to policy, weapons are not allowed on Mayo campus.

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From a personal perspective, I'll take care of my safety first even if that means carrying pepper spray, and ask for forgiveness later. At least that way I will have a better chance of being here to ask for forgiveness! Rochester is getting significantly more dangerous and people need to be able to protect themselves.

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I lived the first 36 years of my life in a bad area in NYC. Don't get too close to the curb when there are parked cars/trucks. They can be waiting there as well. Always have room to react. Keep focused on your surroundings, not the cell phone.

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I have to say that I'm not worried about being attacked on mayo property. Its off the property that I'm worried about, which is why I carry an umbrella. I've already been approached while walking to my building at 6am and felt like I was in danger until they saw I had something in my hand I could use to fight.

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Is a MagLite considered a weapon, too?

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Have your Keys in your hand while walking to your car, it makes for a great weapon. I always have a key ready to use if needed when walking to my car (on or off campus),even in the ramps because there are no cameras in the parking ramps.

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@bobbi_rasmussen

Is a MagLite considered a weapon, too?

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Maglite? No.

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I think I would feel safer in the St. Marys ramp if they had security cameras…which they don't. I found this out when my car was backed into right close to the door.

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@bobbi_rasmussen

Is a MagLite considered a weapon, too?

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Do you mean the 4 or 6 D-cell variety that weigh almost 3 pounds? Even if they aren't considered a weapon, they could certainly be used as one…

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@bobbi_rasmussen

Is a MagLite considered a weapon, too?

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Yes, I mean the big heavy one.

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@bobbi_rasmussen

Is a MagLite considered a weapon, too?

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I don't currently carry one, but I've thought about it.

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I recently read an article about having keys in your hand. In addition to using as a weapon, you can press the panic button (if you are fairly close to your vehicle). This could possibly deter attackers and bring attention from other bystanders to assist.

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@sheilamarsh

Have your Keys in your hand while walking to your car, it makes for a great weapon. I always have a key ready to use if needed when walking to my car (on or off campus),even in the ramps because there are no cameras in the parking ramps.

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I am sorry but that is not strong advice. Using keys like this almost always leads to more damage to the webbing between your fingers than to an attacker. It is recommended that you have your keys so that, if you are close, you can trigger the car alarm or get in the car quickly without sitting idle outside your car fishing for keys.

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I attended a self-defense class once (a long time ago) and they pointed out that while using your keys as a weapon may help, it can often anger your attacker further and do more harm than good. If you manage to get them in the eye or other vulnerable area, well that works, but if you're only scratching them up, it's not very beneficial and may encourage them further just because they’re angry. However, any kind of defense is better than nothing so if that's all you've got, then I'd use it.

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